Electoral notes

Two notes on “five thirty eight”‘s live blog on Cawthorn’s primary election loss.

That’s looking increasingly likely as the night progresses, Sarah. But should we be surprised by that? Part of the reason why Cawthorn’s reelection chances are even in limbo is because he’s been mired in scandal since he was first elected in 2020. The headlines haven’t slowed down recently, either: In April, he was briefly detained after he brought a loaded gun into an airport. That same month, Cawthorn was accused of participating in an alleged insider trading scheme and was also forced to respond publicly after photos emerged of him drinking while wearing women’s lingerie at a party.

Actual thought I had when reading this last night: “and yet, ultimately, the only thing that mattered, the reason he lost… the photos of him in lingerie. Nothing else on the list was enough to boot him.”

Later, another poster at fivethirtyeight chimed in with the observation:

It’s worth pointing out here in the conversation about Cawthorn that it appeared the opposition research against him was at the very least trying to hint that Cawthorn may be closeted. Voters may be reacting to that as much as any of his scandals. The most graphic leak was a video in which a naked Cawthorn thrusted his pelvis toward a man’s head while lying in bed. The president of a PAC aimed at removing Cawthorn from office filed an ethics complaint that gifts and loans to Cawthorn’s scheduler were not properly disclosed and a video also leaked of the scheduler’s hand on Cawthorn’s crotch. There’s also a photo of Cawthorn wearing women’s lingerie on a cruise. I have absolutely no knowledge of Cawthorn’s sexuality, but it doesn’t take a genius to see what this opposition dump was intimating.

Cawthorn paints it as fraternity hi-jinks, but then there is a reason the public looks askance at as “weird homoerotic subtext”. And it is worth pointing out on this score the line from the Alex Jones website — desiring to play up his conspiratorial fighter status against the ” neo-cons” and also wanting to give credence to his statement about orgies on Capitol Hill — to the line about unleashing a full-scale hit job neither here nor there and comes indifference if he is a closeted gay man — which would just put him right alongside much of those neocons he is fighting against.

One note on the primary election victory of Doug Mastriano, who had he had the position he seeks of Pennsylvania governor in 2020 would have been able to muck up his state’s electoral votes won by Biden as against the conspiracies he subscribes toward. Should he win in November, we owe it to the Democrats, politico by way of National Review.

Viewing him as the easiest Republican to defeat in the general, Shapiro and the state Democratic Party sent out mailers boosting him, our Holly Otterbein noted, helping him rise above other GOP candidates, including former Rep. LOU BARLETTA (R-Pa.).

And while Mastriano spent less than $370,000 on TV ads, the Shapiro campaign pumped more than $840,000 to air a spot that attacked Mastriano as too conservative for voters, an ad which actually boosted him on the right, our Zach Montellaro reported. Case in point: The ad called him “one of Donald Trump’s strongest supporters” — which, to many GOP primary voters, is a feature, not a bug.

Claire McCaskill won a term by boosting her Republican opponent on to a primary victory. But it did not work for Pat Brown against Ronald Reagan. I daresay the stakes if McCaskill misfired were not up to the level if Shapiro proves to misfire in a world with six buck gas and no baby formula. I suppose this ad is almost fair enough — you are working the general election — but it would be interesting to gauge if any slams against the rest of the Republican field was essentially empty — not able to run against their basic conservative Republican positions that are getting slid into the mass of “Trumpism” and “War against Democracy” when the real thing is staring at them propped up.

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