CNN host Jim Sciutto pushed back on statements from Democratic California Sen. Alex Padilla on Wednesday over the party meddling in Republican primaries in favor of Trump-endorsed candidates.
Sciutto argued that Democrats’ attempts to paint Republicans as “extremists” are contradictory, given that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Governors Association are spending money to benefit candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump, believing their efforts will facilitate Democratic victories in the general elections, as voters will see the Trump-backed candidates as unelectable.
“I wonder because, at the same time, you have Democratic groups backing some of those same extremist Republican candidates — election deniers, for instance — in a state like Maryland. Does that work for you? Is that not fundamentally contradictory?” Sciutto asked.
“The bottom line is making a clear contrast for voters to decide this November who to vote for,” Padilla said. “We know what the nation needs. We need investments in job creation domestically, we need to tackle costs for working families, how do we bring down the costs for prescription drugs? How do we bring down the cost of child care? … Democrats have plans that have been stifled because of Republican opposition in Congress. So let’s make that abundantly clear for voters. You want to restore a woman’s right to choose? Vote for Democrats. You want to tackle climate aggressively? Vote for Democrats.”
“I get that point, but part of the Democratic case here … is that some of these Republican candidates and Trump himself are a threat to democracy. How can Democrats say that but then back some of those election deniers in their own races?” Scuitto pressed.
“Yeah, it’s gonna be up to candidates across the board to pose those questions for Republican candidates to answer,” Padilla responded, avoiding the question. “Do you believe climate change is real or not? Do you believe a woman should be able to make the decisions on her own body or not? Be public, be on the record, and let the voters decide.”
The DGA spent more than $821,000 on campaign ads to promote candidates further to the right of the spectrum to beat out the moderates, according to The Wall Street Journal. The organization is reportedly hopeful that Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox will beat out moderate Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in the upcoming primary, and they have backed at least three other candidates in hopes that their democratic contenders will fare well against them in the general election.
Republican Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger called the Democratic efforts “disgusting,” saying they cannot claim to defend democracy while promoting the victory of Republican candidates who deny the results of the 2020 election. Kinzinger had voted to impeach Trump in 2020.
“You’re gonna have election deniers win. So while I think a certain number of Democrats truly understand democracy is threatened, don’t come to me after having spent money supporting an election denier in a primary, and then come to me and say ‘where are all the good Republicans?’” Kinzinger said during an interview with CNN’s Brianna Keilar.
Meanwhile, Democrats are beginning to turn on their own party as news of the spending has spread. “I’m disgusted that hard-earned money intended to support Democrats is being used to boost Trump-endorsed candidates, particularly the far-right opponent of one of the most honorable Republicans in Congress, @RepMeijer,” Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota posted on Twitter.
The DCCC spent over $400,000 on an advertisement for Rep. Peter Meijer’s opponent, Trump-backed John Gibbs. Meijer was also one of the Republicans who voted to impeach Trump.
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