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April 19, 2014

Posts in "Tea Party"

April 7, 2014

Tea Party Tested: In One Month, Establishment on Defense

Tea Party Tested: In One Month, Establishment on Defense

Cochran faces a June 3 primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A seven-week gauntlet of Republican Senate primaries kicking off next month will decide the fate of the tea party’s success this year.

If a Republican senator loses a primary this year, it will more than likely occur in a span of nominating contests premiering in one month. Incumbents got the boot thanks to tea-party-backed hopefuls in both 2010 and 2012, and those lesser known Republican nominees went on to both triumphs and failures.

In the third election cycle since the rise of the tea party, fundraising and organization remain significant hurdles for anti-establishment candidates. The outside groups helping to fuel many of the primary campaigns concede they are realistic about their slim chances against incumbents and mainstream Republican candidates.

Still, tea party organizers said they remain hopeful about picking off a few House seats and perhaps a couple Senate seats in their continued pursuit of increased congressional influence.

“Some of our guys could lose, many of them could lose. We understand that,” said Daniel Horowitz of the Madison Project, which recruits and supports conservative candidates. “We take calculated risks. We want to see a path, but it’s very much an uphill path in many of these races, especially if you’re going up against an incumbent and even some of the open seats where you’re starting out with a lot less money.”

But, Horowitz added, “on a large scale we have already won by forcing most of the incumbents to embrace, at least publicly, many of our policies.”

The races to watch begin May 6 in North Carolina, followed by Nebraska on May 13, Kentucky and Georgia on May 20, Mississippi on June 3 and South Carolina on June 10. South Dakota’s open seat has also invited a June 3 primary with similar dynamics, but it has drawn less outside interest than the others.

Full story

March 25, 2014

Conservative Groups Rally Behind Ralph Hall Challenger in Texas (Updated)

Conservative Groups Rally Behind Ralph Hall Challenger in Texas (Updated)

Ratcliffe is challenging Hall, a Republican from Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 10:20 a.m. | The Club for Growth and the Madison Project, two conservative groups, announced Tuesday  endorsements of attorney John Ratcliffe, a Texas Republican who pushed Rep. Ralph M. Hall into a May 27 primary runoff.

“Like Senator Ted Cruz, John Ratcliffe understands that the big spenders in both parties have led us to $17 trillion in debt, and he’ll stand up for pro-growth policies in Washington,” club president Chris Chocola said in a release.

“John Ratcliffe has actually accomplished what so many conservative candidates desire by drawing one of the longest serving establishment incumbents into a competitive runoff,” said Madison Project political director Drew Ryun in a separate statement released earlier on Tuesday. Full story

March 7, 2014

Cochran Upbeat About Primary Fight, Not Running Scared

Cochran Upbeat About Primary Fight, Not Running Scared

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran was upbeat this week that he will prevail over his tea-party-backed Republican primary challenger when voters go to the polls in June.

“I’m very pleased. I’m enjoying getting around the state and visiting with friends and supporters,” Cochran said in a brief interview. “We’re making good progress, I think, in our campaign. We have more candidates than we’ve had in a Senate race I think since my first race for Congress in 1972 — independents, a Democrat or two and a Republican or two.”

Cochran and his supporters, including a super PAC, are making the case about the importance of the clout of the longtime GOP senator. A recent super PAC ad specifically highlighted Cochran’s work to bring federal funds to rebuild the ravaged Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, dinging challenger state Sen. Chris McDaniel for his comments on the aid question.

Full story

Rand Paul Headlining CPAC Fundraiser for N.C. Senate Hopeful

Rand Paul Headlining CPAC Fundraiser for N.C. Senate Hopeful

Paul will make time for a fundraiser for a Senate hopeful while at CPAC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is headlining a fundraiser Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference for a tea-party-backed Senate candidate in North Carolina.

Greg Brannon, a physician, is one of a handful of Republicans hoping to take on Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who is a top GOP target in her bid for a second term. Brannon has collected the endorsements of Paul and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, though state Speaker Thom Tillis is the GOP front-runner.

Paul will follow up his mid-afternoon address at CPAC by appearing with Brannon at a McCormick & Schmick’s near where the conference is being held. Tickets to the event cost up to $500, according to the online invitation. Full story

March 6, 2014

Potential 2016 Contenders Dominate CPAC Lineup

Potential 2016 Contenders Dominate CPAC Lineup

Rand will return to CPAC to speak on Friday. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Five Republicans who could share a presidential primary debate stage next year will all deliver speeches by lunchtime at today’s start of the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Potential 2016 White House contenders, elected officials and conservative darlings are lining up over the next few days to address thousands of conservative activists descending on the nation’s capital for the annual retreat.

The three-day program kicks off with a speech by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a freshman who’s built substantial support within the conservative movement since his upset victory in 2012. Other possible presidential candidates following him on the main ballroom stage throughout the morning include (in order of appearance) House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. Full story

November 18, 2013

Mitt Romney Endorses in House GOP Primary in Idaho

Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney endorsed Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, for re-election in the 2nd District on Monday, touting the congressman as a “true conservative” in a fundraising email.

Simpson, an eight-term Republican, is facing a primary challenge from tea-party-backed attorney Bryan Smith, who is receiving support from groups such as the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks.

The primary will feature one of the marquee battles between the tea party and business in the fight for control of the GOP in the midterm cycle.

Full story

October 22, 2013

The 7 Republican Senators Most Vulnerable to a Primary

The 7 Republican Senators Most Vulnerable to a Primary

Enzi is vulnerable to a primary challenge in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hard-line conservatives are rising out of the ashes of a weekslong government shutdown, emboldened by the possibility of adding to their ranks in the Senate next year — whether by picking up Democrat-held seats or taking out Republican incumbents.

Just two Republican senators have lost in primaries in the last two election cycles, but that’s not stopping a growing number of intraparty challengers this cycle. Conservative third-party groups and candidates hope to give more backup to folks like Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah, who led an effort to defund the health care law.

The GOP brand overall may have taken a significant hit this month and caused at least some concern within the party about obtaining or keeping the majority in either chamber in the next couple of election cycles. But the shutdown only fueled challenges to sitting Republicans.

It’s still too early to know exactly how competitive many of the challengers can be. At this point, there is a big difference in the competitiveness of the races from the top three to bottom three on this list. And as the most recent fundraising reports to the Federal Election Commission illustrated, nearly all of the incumbents’ opponents are starting out in deep financial holes.

Still, with outside groups such as the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund beginning to engage, a challenger’s money isn’t the only threat — and any of these races could theoretically take off.

Here are the seven Republican senators most vulnerable to a primary challenge, in order: Full story

October 18, 2013

Cruz-Aligned Group Endorses McConnell Challenger

Cruz Aligned Group Endorses McConnell Challenger

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Conservatives Fund, a group Sen. Ted Cruz helped raise money for by appearing in an anti-Obamacare ad, has for the second time in two days endorsed a challenger to a Republican senator — this time the minority leader of the Senate.

The move was not surprising — the Jim DeMint-founded group announced Friday that it will support Louisville businessman Matt Bevin’s uphill primary battle against Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. On Thursday, the SCF endorsed state Sen. Chris McDaniel’s primary challenge to Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.

The endorsements are the latest addition to an increasingly awkward position for Cruz, the Texas Republican who serves as a vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which supports all incumbents, including McConnell. Full story

October 7, 2013

Dem Super PAC Targets Rodney Davis in Illinois

House Majority PAC continued its campaign against House Republicans by releasing a new ad Monday targeting vulnerable Rep. Rodney Davis in Illinois’ 13th District.

The ad will air on cable and broadcast stations in Champaign, Ill., according to the Democratic super PAC. The cable portion of the buy is at least $11,000, but House Majority PAC declined to comment on the entire size.

Full story

September 26, 2013

Tea Party Candidate Eyes Thad Cochran Primary Challenge

Tea Party Candidate Eyes Thad Cochran Primary Challenge

Cochran is considering retirement. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., mulls retirement, a local lawmaker is considering a mounting a primary challenge against him in the Magnolia State.

State Sen. Chris McDaniel, a Republican aligned with the tea party, confirmed to CQ Roll Call this week that he’s considering challenging the six-term senator.

“We are keeping all of our options open because we want to do the right thing for the conservative movement,” McDaniel said in a Wednesday phone interview. “No firm decision has been made one way or the other.” Full story

August 20, 2013

Lamar Alexander Draws GOP Primary Opponent in Senate Race | #TNSEN

Lamar Alexander Draws GOP Primary Opponent in Senate Race | #TNSEN

Alexander has a new challenger. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

State Rep. Joe Carr, a conservative Republican who has been running against embattled Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., announced Tuesday that he will switch gears to challenge Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., instead.

Carr is the first Republican to announce a primary challenge to Alexander, who has received fierce backlash from some tea party groups for his work with his Democratic colleagues.

Local tea party activists are currently vetting other potential Alexander challengers — a process they say will begin this month. Other potential GOP primary challengers include Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and former Williamson County Chairman Kevin Kookogey, according to the Tennessean.

Full story

July 23, 2013

National Tea Party Group Defends Endorsement of Mitch McConnell

National tea party leaders are not backing down from their endorsement of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, despite pushback from local tea party factions in Kentucky.

Speaking with reporters outside an event that featured appearances by all of the prominent tea-party-backed senators, Scottie Hughes of TPNN.com defended her group’s decision to back the Kentucky Republican. McConnell helped the group organize the event in the Capitol.

Both Hughes’ Tea Party News Network and its umbrella organization TheTeaParty.net have endorsed McConnell, even though he is expected to pick up a tea-party-inspired primary challenger on Wednesday. Local groups in Kentucky have asked the national groups to rescind their support.

“The national tea party doesn’t want to sit here and go against anything a local tea party group says. That being said, however, we need to look to make sure that we’re properly vetting our candidates, which is something the tea party has done very badly in the past,” Hughes told reporters gathered outside the event. “We as a national tea party are encouraging this local tea party group: You need to sit down and vet the candidate you’ve picked, vet his background, make sure that he’s not just coming out as kind of a loose cannon as a tea party candidate.”

Full story

June 27, 2013

Quayle Rules Out 2014 Run for Anything

Quayle Rules Out 2014 Run for Anything

Quayle said he won't run for office in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Ben Quayle, R-Ariz., is not running for public office anytime soon — especially next year.

“On the political side, there’s nothing on the radar for me right now,” Quayle told CQ Roll Call in a Wednesday phone interview. “2014 is definitely not happening, but who knows what’ll happen sometime down the road.” Full story

May 29, 2013

Why Some Democrats Aren’t Happy About Bachmann’s Exit

Why Some Democrats Arent Happy About Bachmanns Exit

Not every Democrat is happy about Bachmann's decision not to seek re-election. (Douglas Graham/Roll Call File Photo)

Not every Democrat is cheering Rep. Michele Bachmann’s upcoming exit from Congress — specifically the party’s bean counters.

The conservative firebrand’s decision not to run for re-election takes a lucrative fundraising tool off the table for Democrats.

“After Joe Walsh and Allen West were defeated, she was by far the most lucrative voice for Democrats in the GOP caucus,” said one top Democratic operative who has worked at a committee. “Direct mail writers are going to have to cultivate new villains.”

The Minnesota Republican’s controversial statements and her mantle as one of the tea party’s loudest advocates on Capitol Hill made her the perfect foil in fundraising solicitations from Democratic campaign committees and candidates. She was among a select crew of rank-and-file GOP House members with national profiles and names capable of prompting Democratic donors to give. Full story

May 23, 2013

National Republicans Send Staff to Massachusetts #MASEN

National Republicans Send Staff to Massachusetts #MASEN

Jerry Moran is the NRSC's chairman. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

National Republicans have dispatched staff to Massachusetts to assist with the Senate special election that has become tantalizingly close.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has committed at least four staffers to help nominee Gabriel Gomez in the final weeks of the June 25 contest. The moves come amid fresh polling that showed Gomez running just behind Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey in this solidly Democratic state.

Money remains a major hurdle for Gomez to overcome against the well-funded Markey. So the NRSC sent two fundraisers to help Gomez open some financial doors. Sarah Morgan, a regional political director, arrived Wednesday to organize volunteer efforts over the next few weeks. And Kevin McLaughlin, a senior adviser, is in Boston to assist with communications and general strategy. Full story

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