The midterm elections are officially over after Sen. Raphael Warnock defeated GOP nominee Herschel Walker by nearly 3 percentage points in Georgia’s Senate runoff. While Democrats celebrate their 51st seat in the upper chamber, Karl Rove, a veteran GOP strategist and Fox News contributor, says the Republican loss was avoidable.
‘It shouldn’t have been,’ Rove told Fox News Digital. ‘We had a terrible candidate who was well-meaning but plagued with a lot of scandal and was not particularly good on the campaign trail.’
Republicans’ loss in the Peach State boils down to poor candidate quality at the hands of President Donald Trump, according to Rove.
‘It just shows again he’s a bad picker,’ Rove said.
With Warnock’s victory, Democrats have successfully defended every Democratic incumbent up for re-election in the Senate this year, a political feat that no party has been able to accomplish since the 1934 midterms.
Rove, a longtime GOP operative and former senior adviser to President George W. Bush, has been a critic of Trump in the past and again urged his party to take caution when considering the former president’s picks in future races.
‘We ought to realize that Trump’s endorsement is not an inducement to support that candidate, but a warning to beware,’ Rove said.
Trump endorsed Walker, a longtime friend and former NFL football star, early in the primary process, long before allegations of domestic abuse and claims that Walker paid for abortions for two women surfaced in the media. Though Georgia has become more competitive in recent years, Walker was the only Republican to lose a statewide election in the state this year, while every other GOP candidate won by 5 points or more, avoiding a runoff election.
‘If Warnock had been opposed by a traditional Republican who was not so embraced by Trump and was capable of running a credible campaign, Warnock would have been defeated,’ Rove said.
Elsewhere in the country, Trump made other ill-fated endorsements, involving himself in the nomination process in several key Senate races Republicans should have won, according to Rove.
The GOP strategist pointed to major failures with the selection of Blake Masters in Arizona, Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and even Senator-elect JD Vance, who, despite winning Ohio’s Senate seat, won only by 7 points. The GOP gubernatorial candidate, Mike DeWine, pulled off a 26-point win in the state.
In each case, the former president threw his weight behind a candidate who was a ‘drag on the ticket, not a boost,’ Rove said.