As the midterm elections approach, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the rift between the pro-Trump and anti-Trump wings of the Republican Party is still expansive.
In fact, a number of prominent establishment GOP figures appear more comfortable securing a Democratic victory in tight races than supporting a fellow Republican who supports former President Donald Trump.
Arizona state Rep. Joel John, for example, offered an endorsement for the Democratic secretary of state race instead of GOP candidate Mark Finchem.
“Our nation’s history is full of heroes who bravely stood up to do what was right even if it wasn’t popular in their respective camps,” the Republican legislator said. “We need more people like that today. I am proud to support Adrian Fontes and join noble Republicans and Independents who are willing to put country before party.”
Meanwhile, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is finding similar intraparty backlash as he mounts a re-election bid against Democratic rival Mike Collier.
Former Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff, also a Republican, confirmed that he would back Collier over the Trump-endorsed incumbent.
“As a former elected Republican, I’m putting partisanship aside and joining the growing number of Republicans voting for the man we think is best for Texas, and that’s Mike Collier,” Ratliff confirmed.
At least two other high-profile state Republicans — Judge Glen Whitley and state Sen. Kel Seliger — have joined Ratliff in endorsing the Democrat.
Similar scenarios are playing out in other battleground states.
I’m honored to receive the endorsement of Kris Steele, former Republican Speaker of the Oklahoma House.
— Kendra Horn (@VoteKendraOK) September 28, 2022
A pair of former GOP Kansas governors and other Republican officials have cast their lot with incumbent Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly over Trump-backed candidate and current state attorney General Derek Schmidt.
In Oklahoma, former state House Speaker Kris Steele praised Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Kendra Horn as “the kind of leader we need to move our state forward in a positive, productive, and healthy direction,” endorsing her over GOP rival Rep. Markwayne Mullin.
Perhaps the most notable example of this trend involves Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who has been a vocal critic of Trump and candidates who align with his “Make America Great Again” agenda.
After losing her re-election bid to a Republican primary challenger earlier this year, she vowed to support Democratic candidates in races against Trump-endorsed Republicans.
“I’m going to be very focused on working to ensure that we do everything we can not to elect election deniers,” she said. “We’ve got election deniers that have been nominated for really important positions all across the country, and I’m going to work against those people. I’m going to work to support their opponents.”