How Serious Is the GOP About Herschel Walker?

Josh Marshall catches the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) playing a fast one on donors. The NRSC is pushing an email campaign for donations to elect Herschel Walker to the Senate next month. That seems normal. But if you keep reading, you see that only one cent of every dollar donated is actually going to “Team Herschel.”

The most notable thing is that for ever dollar I give literally one cent goes to Herschel Walker’s campaign. 98 cents goes to the NRSC. This is fairly shocking in itself. But at the moment the NRSC’s main task is getting Walker elected. That’s the only outstanding Senate race. So maybe you can argue that NRSC money is mostly going to support Walker. Maybe.

But the thing that really jumped out to me is that the NRSC gets 98 cents, Herschel Walker gets one cent and “Team Rick Scott” also gets one cent. Rick Scott ran the NRSC for this cycle, a fairly disastrous run. This cycle continues with the runoff. But what’s Team Rick Scott? That’s Scott’s own personal campaign committee. And what’s the point exactly? After all it’s just one cent. If he’s going to put his hand in the till why not take more? The Times‘ Shane Goldmacher I think has this right. It’s not the money so much as the data. Scott only has a one cent toehold but he gets the donor data on every dollar these NRSC fundraising pitches bring in. It’s just astonishingly brazen.

Here’s what Shane Goldmacher said.

In other words, this is about Rick Scott possibly preparing for a presidential run, not about the head of the NRSC trying to get one more seat in the Senate.

There was a lot of griping within the GOP about Scott’s handling of the NRSC. A few days ago there was talk of an audit to find what Scott had done with donations. Scott blamed the NRSC’s financial problems on whoever was in charge before Scott took over, two years ago.

This New York Times article from September says that the NRSC racked in millions of dollars, but that Scott blew it .

It was early 2021, and Senator Rick Scott wanted to go big. The new chairman of the Senate Republican campaign arm had a mind to modernize the place. One of his first decisions was to overhaul how the group raised money online.

Mr. Scott installed a new digital team, spearheaded by Trump veterans, and greenlit an enormous wave of spending on digital ads, not to promote candidates but to discover more small contributors. Soon, the committee was smashing fund-raising records. By the summer of 2021, Mr. Scott was boasting about “historic investments in digital fund-raising that are already paying dividends.”

A year later, some of that braggadocio has vanished — along with most of the money.

Do tell.

Now top Republicans are beginning to ask: Where did all the money go?

The answer, chiefly, is that Mr. Scott’s enormous gamble on finding new online donors has been a costly financial flop in 2022, according to a New York Times analysis of federal records and interviews with people briefed on the committee’s finances. Today, the N.R.S.C. is raising less than before Mr. Scott’s digital splurge.

You can read the NY Times story (no paywall) for the whole story. The gist of it is that Scott went to the small donor well too often and too aggressively. Returns diminished after a while.

As far as Herschel is concerned, the GOP seems mostly concerned about keeping Trump out of Georgia so he doesn’t step on whatever chance Herschel has in winning. I am not finding any new polls since November 7, most of which had Walker beating Warnock.