Gaffe-Prone GOP Candidates Are Hurting Senate’s Chances

Gaffe-prone GOP candidates are causing problems for a party hoping to take over the Senate from the Democrats. Like two years ago, a series of issues have caused the conservative party to potentially cost them their chances to win the majority.

Gaffe-prone nominees costed the GOP the chance to win over the Senate in 2010 and at least two spots are in jeopardy this year in Missouri and Indiana over high-profile mistakes about abortion and rape, reports ABC News.

Democrats currently have control of the Senate with 53 votes (two independents usually vote with them). They should hole more seats, but two years ago tea-party candidates won GOP primaries, but fell short in the general election in Delaware, Colorado, and Nevada.

Longtime Delaware Representative Mike Castle, who was defeated in the 2010 primary by Christine O’Donnell, stated:

“The tea party is so focused on nominating people who are ideologically in their camp that they don’t consider the broader question of ‘Can this person win a general election? It happened at least three times in my cycle and in two of these elections this year, it’s shaping up that way.”

The GOP began the 2012 election season with high hopes of finally taken over the Senate. But two of their candidates have made widely panned gaffes about rape, pregnancy, and abortion.

The first hit to the GOP’s senate hopes came in August with Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), who asserted in an interview in August that women who are victims of a “legitimate rape” won’t get pregnant (and if they do, their bodies can get rid of it). He stated:

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin was leading in the polls against Democratic incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill, but in the ensuing fallout of the “legitimate rape” comments, national Republicans pulled their support. They essentially abandoned their hopes of winning the seat. Akin and McCaskill are currently close in the polls.

Another problem for the GOP has been Indiana Republican candidate Richard Mourdock, who beat long-time Senator Richard Lugar in the primary this spring, but stumbled during a debate last week, introducing rape once more into the discussion about Republicans.

The San Francisco Chronicle notes that Mourdock stated during the debate:


“Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”

Mourdock was already considered a weak candidate and after the remarks, Democrats released a poll that claims a lead for their candidate, Rep. Joe Donnelly. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who chaired the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from 2005 to 2008, stated:

“What’s happened is Republicans are nominating people who are so far out of the mainstream that even in deeply red states, they lose. If they had mainstream candidates (in 2010) as opposed to hard-right candidates, we would have had a much rougher time in Delaware, in Colorado, in Nevada. This year they’re making the same mistake.”

Meanwhile, GOPers are sounding more pessimistic about taking over the Senate. GOP strategist John Feehery commented:

“There have been some unforced errors, like a golf game. You’re shooting right around par and all of a sudden you have a couple of triple bogies and you’re not doing so well and you’re out of the tournament.”

But unlike the tea party wave in 2010 that propelled its flawed nominees to losses, this year is filled with gaffes about women (abortion, rape, and pregnancy). Despite these stumbles, however, Republicans still have the opportunity to take seats away from Democrats in seven states.