Trump’s House GOP fans don his mantle as they seek higher office

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Some of the Senate GOP’s old bulls are hanging up their voting cards. And there’s a cadre of Trump-loving House members itching to take their place.

At least half a dozen of Donald Trump’s staunchest allies in the House are exploring bids for higher office, eager to carry the Trump mantle into the Senate — as well as into governors’ mansions. A wave of retirements by veteran Senate Republicans has created fresh opportunities for the House’s hard-liners in deep red states such as Alabama, Ohio and Missouri. But even in states won by President Joe Biden, such as Arizona and Georgia, some of the former president’s most loyal devotees are willing to test their political fortunes, hoping to seize on a deep but baseless belief on the right that the election was stolen.

The potential crop of Trumpworld candidates could usher in a new era for the more reserved Senate, with negotiators traded in for bomb throwers. And should this new breed of conservative candidate succeed, it could spell even more bad news for Biden’s pledges of bipartisanship during the end of his first term in office.

“It’s pretty clear that our more liberal, establishment brethren in the Senate have not been faring well,” said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), who is considering a bid for the upper-chamber seat of retiring Republican Richard Shelby. “Those were the only ones that lost in 2020. And our conservatives won.”

“So that’s a pretty good sign as to what the American electorate prefers,” he added.

During the Trump years, a cohort of House Republicans built national profiles and padded their war chests defending the ex-president throughout multiple investigations and impeachments. Now, amid an intense internal debate over the future of the GOP, some of those same lawmakers are looking to use their newfound stardom on the right as a springboard to higher office — even after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 and the GOP lost the House, Senate and White House under Trump.

Among the Republicans considering a Senate run are Brooks, who spearheaded the effort to challenge the election results while Shelby voted to certify Biden’s win; Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, who chairs the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus and hails from a state where the legislature amplified Trump’s false voter fraud claims; and Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio, a hardliner who replaced former Speaker John Boehner in Congress.

“The Trump policy and platform is the direction of the party,” Biggs said. “So I think people that have embraced the America First policy. They really have a good shot at winning their constituencies.”

Davidson could seek the spot being vacated by centrist Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio); he could also mount a run for governor.

“It’s clear to me that the Make America Great Again coalition is the future of the party,” said Davidson, a Freedom Caucus member and critic of Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s coronavirus strategy in Ohio.

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