- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 29, 2020

Democrats’ allies are boosting third-party conservatives in U.S. Senate contests in states such as Kentucky and South Carolina in a last-ditch effort to siphon support from Republican candidates.

The meddling includes ads urging people to take a look at the Constitution Party’s Bill Bledsoe, who dropped out of the South Carolina race a month ago and endorsed Sen. Lindsey Graham.

But Mr. Bledsoe’s decision to drop out came too late to get his name off the ballot.

Mr. Graham’s campaign released a pair of ads on Thursday criticizing Jaime Harrison, his Democratic opponent, for promoting Mr. Bledsoe.

“This is Dr. Bill Bledsoe. I’ll be voting for Sen. Graham and I hope you will too,” the former candidate says in a 60-second radio ad.

Earlier this week, Mr. Bledsoe called on Mr. Harrison and other groups to “cease and desist.”

Mr. Graham and Mr. Harrison have been running neck-and-neck in recent polling in the typically red state.

The Harrison campaign did not respond to a request for comment but has previously defended their efforts.

Harrison campaign spokesman Guy King told the Associated Press earlier this month that the campaign was simply “making sure voters know the facts” about Mr. Harrison’s “two opponents on the ballot.”

The anti-Trump Lincoln Project also released a new ad this week touting Mr. Bledsoe as the only candidate South Carolina conservatives can trust.

“Dr. Bill Bledsoe is the real deal: tough on immigration, pro-guns, pro-God,” a narrator says with a slight southern drawl. “He’ll put ‘Christ’ back in ‘Christmas.’”

The group said in a statement Thursday it’s not backing down and that the Washington establishment is trying to “gaslight” Republicans into believing Mr. Graham is a conservative.

“The Lincoln Project will never cease or desist from our unfailing belief that Bill Bledsoe is the only true conservative in the South Carolina Senate race this election cycle,” the statement said.

In Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appears to be on his way to a relatively drama-free win over Democrat Amy McGrath in a race national Democrats were bullish on earlier in the cycle.

That hasn’t stopped outside groups from trying to boost Libertarian candidate Brad Barron in hopes of steering would-be McConnell voters away from the Republican.

The pro-McGrath “Fire Mitch, Save America” PAC is responsible for recent mailers saying that there is a “better choice” for U.S. Senate in Mr. Barron.

“Brad Barron will eliminate the IRS, audit the Federal Reserve, and bring our troops home,” the mailer says. “He will shake up Washington.”

A spokesman for Senate Republicans’ campaign arm said the moves smack of desperation.

“This is a last-ditch, desperate effort by these out-of-touch Democrats and their allies to meddle in these elections,” said Nathan Brand, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “But at the end of the day, voters know that Harrison and McGrath don’t share their values, and these dirty tricks are just another reminder why.”

In the presidential race, virtually all of the attention has been on President Trump and Joseph R. Biden, with Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins struggling to break through.

But White House adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner has acknowledged talking with rapper Kanye West, whose odd “Birthday Party” White House bid was thought to potentially draw some Black support away from Mr. Biden.

Some operatives working to get Mr. West’s name on the ballot in various states have ties to Republicans or GOP causes.

Mr. Trump denied any part in helping Mr. West, whose wife Kim Kardashian West has praised the president’s efforts on criminal justice reform, get on the ballot.

“Not at all,” Mr. Trump said in August. “I like him. I like his wife.”

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