Sasse’s Jabs At Trump Spark Talk Of Primary Challenger

Conservative Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), a frequent critic of President Trump who said he could not support him during the 2016 cycle, is at risk of a significant primary challenge in 2020, according to GOP sources. 

A Nebraska Republican official told The Hill there are Republicans interested in running for Sasse’s seat, while a senior Republican aide predicted that Sasse will see a primary challenge. 

But the senator’s office brushes off the possibility that he could be challenged.

Sasse has a solidly conservative voting record and says he could raise $6 million for his reelection. He reported having $1.4 million in cash on hand in his campaign account at the end of December. 

Sasse had a 43 percent approval rating and 34 percent disapproval rating in Nebraska, according to a Morning Consult poll conducted from July 1 to Sept. 25. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), who easily won reelection in 2018, had an approval-disapproval split of 42 percent to 39 percent in the same poll. 

Those are significant advantages. But they could be countered if Trump, who has a lock on the GOP base, decides to intervene in the 2020 Nebraska primary. 

Trump compiled an impressive record of endorsing GOP primary winners in 2018. According to an ABC News report, 49 of the 51 Republicans he endorsed in 2018 primaries were victorious.

“It should come as no surprise that he wields such power in Republican primaries,” Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist, said of Trump. “He’s in lockstep with the Republican base. If he wants to go after Sasse, the opportunity is there for him to do it.”

Read more from Alex Bolton at The Hill

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