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February 11, 2016

FreedomWorks Might Help Candidates They Opposed in 2014 Primaries

FreedomWorks Might Help Candidates They Opposed in 2014 Primaries

Freedomworks did not endorse Tillis, left, in the primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

FreedomWorks, a tea party-affiliated group that backed primary challengers to two GOP incumbents this cycle, is weighing whether to spend money to help the nominees they previously opposed.

The group, known for targeting Republican incumbents and establishment favorites with ground-game assistance for conservative candidates, is more closely tied with the tea party than the Republican Party.

But as FreedomWorks looks to the general election fights ahead, and with Republicans needing a six-seat net gain to win the Senate majority, the group is open to aiding candidates like North Carolina Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky — both of whom it actively worked against earlier this year.

“We’ve decided that Harry Reid’s not our friend,” FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe said in an interview Thursday. “Shockingly.”

The group is now considering helping Tillis’s bid to defeat Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C. FreedomWorks previously attacked Tillis in the primary and backed his opponent, Dr. Greg Brannon.

“We don’t endorse candidates that we don’t really think are going to be rock stars,” Kibbe said. “Our super PAC, on the other hand, has always spent money in races where we haven’t endorsed. So we might go into North Carolina and work against Kay Hagan, for instance, because clearly Tillis is better than Hagan, from our perspective.”

Such help would not take the form of a “pro-Tillis” effort, FreedomWorks executive vice president Adam Brandon clarified on Friday, but rather an “anti-Kay Hagan” campaign.

Beyond North Carolina, Kibbe mentioned Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa and Georgia as states where the group hasn’t endorsed but would consider helping the Republican nominees. The same goes for New Hampshire, where former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown, is running.

“We did not endorse him in Massachusetts because I didn’t think it would help. I definitely wanted him to win, and a lot of our activists worked for him, but FreedomWorks’ brand may or may not help — New Hampshire’s different obviously than Massachusetts. So I’m not philosophically opposed to that, but we’ll see,” Kibbe said.

FreedomWorks involvement in campaigns is centered on providing activists with the training and resources to mount a successful ground game. For instance, in Mississippi, the group is backing state Sen. Chris McDaniel’s bid to unseat Republican Sen. Thad Cochran. Kibbe said they are printing door hangers and yard signs and other literature their members can hand out when canvassing. They also spend money on social media, but only rarely spend on TV or radio.

Ultimately, Kibbe said, it would come down to where activists were willing to work. But when the primaries are over, their main goal would be getting a Republican majority.

“Someone asked me, ‘Well, are you going to endorse Mitch McConnell,’ and what I said was, ‘We’re going to ask our membership what they want to do. Because obviously I don’t want the Democrat to win in Kentucky,’” he said.

  • Atnor

    I dont think you can honestly be actively assisting and supporting Tillis and still be a “tea party” group. When it comes to those things I consider “tea party”, he’s pretty much on the wrong side of the fence, right there with Hagan.

    If they’re going to be a group that simply advances the goals of the Republican Party instead of particular principles, then you can hardly consider them “tea party aligned”, no?

    There are no good candidates in that NC race, and those principles are not going to be “more” advanced with either one in office – I’d have more respect for them if they simply sat it out.

    It definitely doesnt sound like a good place for me to direct money and support to, if that’s the kind of thing they’d do with it. Seems like an odd move to me.

  • Pragmatic Conservative

    I applaud FreedomWorks for finally figuring out, after all this time, that helping liberal democrats get elected is not in their best interest, and that even a moderate Republican is likely to give them 70-80% of what they want, which is better than nothing. The reason the Tea Party has begun to fizzle out is that they put more time and effort into working against those who were in general agreement with them (although perhaps differed on a few specific issues) than they did trying to oppose those who were completely opposed to their agenda. If the Tea Party finally understands that keeping Reid as the Senate Majority Leader, or Obama as the President, is not a better option than electing center-right Republicans, there may be hope for them yet.

  • Al Bumen

    Since prices serve as communications beacons, central government attempts to set prices distort the signals upon which prosperity depends.

  • cooldela1966

    Who else are the Tea Partiers going to support? Hagan?

  • Atnor

    There’s the Libertarian candidate, or leaving that race blank on their ballot, or writing a name in, or simply staying home…. to my mind, all are preferable to voting for either Tillis or Hagan :)

  • Nautilus0316

    While you are largely correct about Tillis, I would suggest that the National implications of Senate control are sufficient to make it far better for the Tea Party for Tillis to win this election.

  • Atnor

    I can understand that view, I just think it’s a fairly short-term outlook. I think it just continues the path we’re on… where we have leadership in both parties willing and eager to grow government, throw around favors, and veer farther away from the appropriate role of government.

    By continuing to “support” Dem-lite Republicans as a tactic, just because they arent “actual” Democrat Party members, means that GOP leadership essentially owns those votes by default – they never have to actually bother considering the potential consequences of their actions in office because ultimately, there really arent any *shrug* whatever they do or do not do, they still have an (R) next to their name, not a (D), and voting for them tells them that’s really all they needed.

    That kind of strategy seems destined to continue to provide bad, larger government, and if the American public chooses to support going off a cliff, I dont suppose it makes much difference if I’m in a red hand-basket or a blue one :)

    I cant do much, but I “can” choose to not participate in that kind of folly.

  • Alice Boxstrom

    Darwin’s theories of evolution were preceded by theories of cultural evolution regarding the relationship of Sanskrit to the Greek language.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    So the Tea Party “has begun to fizzle out”, has it?

    Maybe you should go explain that to your RINO buddy Cantor, lad.

  • cooldela1966

    Throwing your vote away so that Hagan gets reelected?

    Sounds more like a personal vendetta against Tillis than politics.

    But it is your vote so have at it. We have survived Kay and I am sure we can survive her for another term or two.

  • Atnor

    Personal vendetta?

    umm, lol…. no. He and I seem to not share particular principles that I think are important, like smaller, less intrusive government. I vote for candidates I actually support, and that’s not Tillis, who seems to lack much in the way of principle entirely.

    If the GOP wants my support, they can run better candidates. They dont own my vote by default just because they arent Democrats. That reasoning simply leads to more bad GOP candidates who can do whatever they want without consequence.

  • cooldela1966

    Suits me.

    Kay hasn’t been all that bad.

  • Pragmatic Conservative

    Anyone who claims that Cantor wasn’t a conservative has to have their head examined. All you’ve done is prove that Tea Partiers like you are so extreme that you have absolutely no idea where the political mainstream is (and Cantor was well to the right of the mainstream already), and thus you have no idea how the vast majority of American’s think. Cantor may have lost, but that only proves that an extremist candidate can win in a very partisan district. In statewide elections, with a much more diverse political audience, the Tea Party has failed miserably this year (or did you not notice that McConnell, Cornyn and Graham, just to name a few, all won their primaries easily).

  • the viceroy’s gin

    You’re a whiny RINO, laddie.

    One-by-one, we conservatives are going to hunt you, target you and destroy you.

    One-by-one. You won’t know how or when, and most of you RINOs are too dumb to know why. But just when you least expect it, one of you will be destroyed… like Cantor, that miserable RINO POS.

    Be afraid, RINO. Be very afraid.

  • Pragmatic Conservative

    One victory and you now think you are going to take over the nation? Tea Party delusions of grandeur are amusing. Rasmussen reports that only 27% of likely voters support the Tea Party, with 50% opposing it. How do you twist those numbers into believing you’ll ever be anything more than the bunch of tantrum throwing malcontents that you currently are. The only thing the Tea Party does well consistently is lose winnable races to Democrats. But buck up, after you nominate Ted Cruz for President, and he loses to Hilary with about 30% of the vote, you’ll have 8 more years to bask in your ideological purity and call everyone else names while the country goes up in flames (which is your real goal, isn’t it?).

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Keep whining, RINO. 😉

    And keep being afraid. That’s what we conservatives want.

    Remember, you RINOs won’t know how, or when, and you certainly won’t know why. But just when you least expect it, one of you RINO POS will be hunted, targeted and destroyed… just like that Cantor POS .

    Be afraid, RINO. Be very, very afraid.

  • Pragmatic Conservative

    Don’t waste my time by unintelligently repeating what you said in your previous post. I know you have no original thoughts, and that you just recite whatever Michael Savage, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, etc. tell you. You don’t need to prove it anymore.
    P.S. Nothing about the Tea Party scares me except its willingness to help keep liberals in power.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Keep whining, RINO. It clearly demonstrates that you are terrified. 😉

    You should be. You RINOs will be hunted, targeted and destroyed… one-by-one… just like that POS Cantor.

    Be afraid, RINO.

  • Jon McCasper

    As Lenin asked: Who decides what is “fair” for whom? Who decides how much their friends and supporters should have? And on, and on.

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