Republican insiders are increasingly concerned about the electoral effects of GOP lawmakers’ calls to “defund the FBI,” Axios reports.
Republicans have spent years branding the Democrats as the party of “defund the police” activists, blaming them without any evidence for pandemic crime increases. But numerous prominent Republicans like Marjorie Taylor Greene responded to the FBI’s raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home by calling to defund or abolish the agency.
“Strategists say it could jeopardize the GOP's chances in some contests in November,” Axios reported, citing concerns that this could “become the new Trump loyalty litmus test.”
It’s not just Greene — numerous GOP candidates have echoed calls to defund the FBI.
New Hampshire Republican Senate candidates Dan Bolduc and Bruce Fenton called to abolish the FBI, as did New Hampshire congressional candidates Karoline Leavitt and Tim Baxter.
Anthony Sabatini, a state lawmaker running in Florida’s 7th District, called for Florida to “sever all ties with DOJ immediately” and arrest FBI agents “upon sight.”
Ohio GOP candidate J.R. Majewski called to “abolish all unconstitutional three letter agencies,” including the FBI and CIA.
GOP strategists worry:
"Crime has been a winning issue for Republicans, and they need to be careful not to jeopardize that," Alex Conant, GOP strategist and founding partner of Firehouse Strategies, told Axios, warning that Democrats may be able to “neutralize what has been a very effective issue for Republicans.”
Ken Spain, a founding partner of Narrative Strategies and former GOP campaign official, told the outlet, “this might score political points in the handful of remaining GOP primaries, but it will serve as a textbook case study in how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the general election.”