The divide between Trump-style populism and moderate conservatism has grown increasingly clear, and actor Scott Baio’s desire to run against Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney is proof of that.
Baio, the former “Happy Days” star-turned-political activist, half-jokingly suggested in a tweet last week that he would like to primary Romney in 2024.
“Hey @MittRomney, beautiful golf courses in Utah……maybe I’ll move there, play a few rounds and unseat you,” Baio said.
“P.S. My wife is still waiting for her $2600 refund. Remember your wife canceled that Beverly Hills political luncheon fundraiser? But your campaign kept the money.”
Hey @MittRomney, beautiful golf courses in Utah……maybe I’ll move there, play a few rounds and unseat you. P.S. My wife is still waiting for her $2600 refund. Remember your wife canceled that Beverly Hills political luncheon fundraiser? But your campaign kept the money. https://t.co/ZMBZVZw3zZ
— Scott Baio (@ScottBaio) November 20, 2020
While Baio would gain attention in a hypothetical primary race, he certainly would not be guaranteed a victory.
Romney was the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, but President Donald Trump and Romney have a strong dislike for one another.
Their rivalry embodies the contrast between the two major factions within the Republican Party — populists and the old guard.
Realistically, a Baio primary challenge would likely appeal to populist Republicans and draw a following that would align closely with the views of Trump’s base.
However, Republicans of all types need to understand that there is a wide variety of views and people within the party, and that certain tactics will not work everywhere.
Many suburbans areas experienced high numbers of split-ticket voters in 2020, which is part of the reason why Democratic nominee Joe Biden won certain areas, but Republicans picked up multiple House seats.
For all the talk of ticket-splitting (and sure, it benefitted Rs a lot more than we expected), I think we’re on pace for the smallest number of “crossover” districts in modern history.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 21, 2020
Another example to look at is Arizona, where Trump currently trails Biden. This is likely due to a number of reasons, one of them being Trump’s relationship with the late Sen. John McCain. Regardless of one’s opinion of McCain, it is well known that the two did not get along.
As a result, the Biden campaign decided to feature McCain’s wife, Cindy McCain, in advertising that aired throughout the state.
It is highly unlikely that Baio will actually run for the Utah Senate seat, but his suggestion certainly brings up a conversation about the dichotomy within the Republican Party right now.
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