He has a point….
The finance chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA) says he hopes Republicans have learned a lesson after Sen. David Vitter’s (R-La.) wipeout in the Louisiana governor’s race.
“Louisiana should be a lesson for Republicans running for state office, that it’s hugely counterproductive to develop super-PACs to spend all their money attacking each other,” said Fred Malek in a telephone interview Sunday.
“We’re giving Democrats a great advantage in the general [election]. It’s not wise.”
Malek is among the most respected GOP fundraisers in America and his leadership of the RGA’s finance operation makes him one of the key architects of Republican victories in statehouses across the country in recent years.
Malek is thrilled with the GOP’s recent record, including businessman Matt Bevin’s victory in the Kentucky gubernatorial race, but his mood dims when discussing Vitter’s loss in what should be a solidly red state.
Asked how much blame Vitter’s Republican rivals — particularly Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, who accused Vitter of being “corrupt” and ultimately crossed party lines to endorse Edwards — should wear for the loss, Malek hesitated on the phone for about ten seconds.
“I think a Republican who abandons another Republican after a fair and hard fought primary is, well…”
Malek paused again, searching for a polite adjective.
“I am trying to get the right word here without sounding venal.”
Malek finally said: “I think [Dardenne] has been quite disloyal and is doing a disservice to the Republican Party and to good governance in general.”
“But I don’t blame [Dardenne] for the defeat,” he added. “I blame the months leading up to the primary for the defeat, as well as some things in Sen. Vitter’s past which were certainly exploitable.”
The spectacle of three Republican gubernatorial candidates viciously attacking one another and with the assistance of independent super-PACs, left Vitter too damaged to effectively compete against Edwards in the general election, Malek says.
Malek hopes the 2016 Republican presidential primaries do not descend to the same level of personal vitriol seen in the Louisiana race. He says he remains hopeful that the policy conversation can turn to substance and reward candidates who have experience in public service, unlike current frontrunners, celebrity businessman Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
He also says he remains confident that the GOP will nominate a current or former governor such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
All three are currently lagging behind Trump, Carson and Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in national and state polls.
“I don’t think [the nominee] is going to be Trump. I don’t think it’s going to be Carson,” Malek said.
“But who knows. I’ve been wrong so far. You’ve [the media] been wrong too. We all have.”