Updated: Jan 18
Following the recent mid-term elections, TBORAF's President John Pudner has been on a radio interview tour, appearing on Fox News stations across the country to analyze the mid-term elections, what the goals for Republicans should be going forward, and how Take Back Action will help achieve these goals. Over the next few days, we will be showcasing highlights from this tour:
TBORAF President John Pudner started the radio tour on WIBX in Utica, New York, wherein he discussed Rep. Kevin McCarthy's upcoming election to become Speaker, how he can unify House Republicans, and how the work of former New York GOP Chair Nick Langworthy showcases a winning strategy for Republicans.
For more on TBORA's efforts on election integrity, please click here.
The following transcript from this interview is presented in its entirety with minor edits:
Democrats, vote, McCarthy, New York, Speaker, caucus, primary, lose, Republicans.
John Pudner, Jeff Monaski, and Bill Keeler.
Bill Keeler 00:00
McCarthy loses 31 votes from his caucus but will move on to a final contest before the full House in January. He looks to be… I don't know, is it a sure shot as Speaker of the House? John Pudner is with Fox News and he is president of Take Back action - the Take Back Action Fund - was a Bush 2000 aide and the only person in US history to run a campaign defeating a majority leader in a primary. John, good morning.
John Pudner 00:31
Good morning. Thanks for having me on.
Bill Keeler 00:33
So what's your take on this. Is McCarthy a shoe in?
John Pudner 00:36
It is I think at this point. It's just a matter of what concessions he gives to Freedom Caucus, are they sort of negotiating to get a couple of Chairman spots, etc. But, I can't see any trouble for him in the final vote. No one's gonna team up with Democrats on the vote. So eventually, you're going to have at least 218 votes, and with his command win yesterday for nomination. I mean, it will be him at the end.
Jeff Monaski 01:06
Will Trump at all weigh in here? Is there any chance he tries to get something, get somebody support, and says, “Hey, look, if you don't back me, I'm gonna go with this Biggs guy, and we're gonna make some noise.”
John Pudner 01:18
Well, I think after Tuesday, it's pretty tough, because I think he was sort of floating Sarah Palin as Speaker, and she got 26% in her vote for Congress. So, you know, I just think with the night he's coming off of, I don't see how he would be able to mount enough support for an alternate for Speaker.
Bill Keeler 01:40
How much of this talk is a bit of wishful thinking? You know, there have been many stories out there that the majority of Republicans in the legislature have been waiting for their moment to kind of walk away from the craziness of Donald Trump. And now, for the very first time after this midterm, they are feeling like they're empowered enough to be able to do it, but they're still getting pushback from the general public, those huge Trump supporters. It is possible that all of a sudden, they could learn that Trump has much more power still than they thought he had, and reverse course a little bit. What do you think? Do you feel it's done?
John Pudner 02:27
Well, he definitely does. I do think Tuesday probably ultimately cost him the nomination, not to say it's over and it won't be a big fight, but yeah, I think he would have been the nominee if his nominees had done well on Tuesday night, and I don't believe he will be now, but a lot to be played between now and then. But you are right, the big problem you’ll have in any election, you can’t lose your base, and that's the first thing you can't do. And, you can't go in and you certainly can't sort of just tell off Trump if you're going through a nomination battle or even a general because if you really go after him, and you lose 10% of your base, you can't that make up the middle, and look at how Kemp did it. Kemp never went after him in Georgia, he beat everything Trump threw at him, but he never got nasty at Trump.
Bill Keeler 03:18
It is interesting, though, the real lesson out of these midterms, and Democrats should be very, very careful not to be celebrating. I get it, they didn't get the big red wave that they thought they were going to get, but there's no huge endorsement or mandate for Democrats by any means. But for Republicans, the takeaway could very well be that while the Trump candidate can win a primary, once it gets to the general, Donald Trump is so polarized that he brings out the Democrats and the independents, who may not be all that enthusiastic, but are enough so about Trump to come out and vote.
John Pudner 04:05
No, you're right on, and it is funny with McCarthy. Of course, this is related, the people always want to blame GOP chairs and caucus leaders, they come after McCarthy a little, but I've got to do a shout-out there. A couple of hours west of you. Nick Langworthy, I've been saying for years, he's the best state GOP chair in the country, and to have New York and California have good days, I think what that shows is a state where you're used to having to really fight for every win is much better prepared for a year like this, where things weren't going as well, and fought through them. But he's going on to Congress, because from the Buffalo mayor's race through Tuesday, he had quite a tenure there.
Bill Keeler 04:49
Well, and Brandon Williams in the 22nd congressional district, which encompasses Central New York, including Austin, Syracuse, and Onondaga County. Brandon Williams, the Republican, a first-time politician, first-time candidate, wins over the established Republican in the primary, and then wins the general. His opponent finally conceded yesterday. Who would have thought New York would be playing a role in this?
John Pudner 05:19
Absolutely, New York got it right, really up to 218, and now California is trying to add three or four more seats, so who would have thought either of these states, but it was quite a night for New York.
Bill Keeler 05:31
No doubt, John, thanks for your time. We appreciate it. We'll do it again.