Early GOP primaries shaping up as rightward march with Trump
Published 7:06 am Tuesday, May 8, 2018
As primary season kicks into high gear, Republicans are engaged in nomination fights that are pulling the party to the right, leaving some leaders worried their candidates will be out of a step with the broader electorate in November.
Primaries in four states on Tuesday, all in places Donald Trump carried in 2016, showcase races in which GOP candidates are jockeying to be seen as the most conservative, the most anti-Washington and the most loyal to the president. It’s evidence of the onetime outsider’s deepening imprint on the Republican Party he commandeered less than two years ago.
In Indiana, Republicans will pick from among three Senate candidates who have spent much of the race praising Trump and bashing each other. In West Virginia, a former federal convict and coal baron has taken aim at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., with racially charged accusations of corruption.
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In Ohio, Republicans are certain to nominate someone more conservative than outgoing GOP Gov. John Kasich, a 2016 presidential candidate, moderate and frequent Trump critic. Even Kasich’s former running mate, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, has pledged to unwind some of Kasich’s centrist policies, including the expansion of the Medicaid government insurance program following Democrats’ 2010 health insurance overhaul.