JF in the News: ‘Waste of a seat’: Manchin’s succession becomes a magnet for anti-establishment Republicans

Pro-Mooney conservatives are particularly frustrated over a potential missed opportunity to change the complexion of the Senate GOP after bitter internal splits over funding Ukraine, government spending and reauthorizing warrantless foreign surveillance.

John Fredericks, a pro-Trump conservative radio host from Virginia and a Mooney supporter, said electing Justice amounts to a “complete waste of a seat” for the GOP.

Yet Fredericks and Cruz are exceptions in a Republican Party that’s wary of crossing Trump. Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) are the only chamber Republicans siding against Justice. And the conservative Club for Growth did not follow through with its pledge to pour $10 million in the race, spending only about $1.8 million, according to media tracking firm AdImpact.

David McIntosh, president for Club for Growth Action, said the group believes “Mooney is the best conservative for the seat, but President Trump’s endorsement hardened Justice’s support and there wasn’t a viable path forward.”

“They committed. I guess they looked at poll numbers and they canceled,” said Fredericks, who drove his “MAGA Bus” to the event here. “You believe in your candidates or you don’t. And they obviously don’t.”

Mooney declined to criticize the conservative Club, which often plays in red-state primaries but is trying to rebuild its ties to Trump. He did concede the cavalry did not come for him in a primary where total GOP spending is relatively low for an open seat — around $13 million — and a few extra million could have made a huge difference.

“People are missing it,” Mooney said. “It’s not just Club for Growth. There’s a lot of groups out there that exist to help conservatives.

Read the full article from Politico.