WSJ: GOP Massaging Tea Party to Keep Unelectable Candidates Home

Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 07:55 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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A quiet campaign has been underway by traditional Republicans to assuage the tea party as part of the GOP’s bid to reclaim the Senate in the midterm elections, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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The crusade has been mostly successful, according to the newspaper. One exception is Mississippi, where tea party state Sen. Chris McDaniel has momentum in his Republican primary campaign against U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, Breitbart reported.

In addition to filling conventional candidates’ campaign coffers, party leaders have also resorted to "diplomacy" with members of the tea party, according to the Journal.

"We did that by going to the tea party groups and saying, 'We want to win,'" Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told the newspaper. "I think we did it a little smarter this time."

In past elections, the tea party’s decision to run unelectable candidates, such as Christine O'Donnell in Delaware and Todd Akin in Missouri, negatively affected the party, the Journal reports.

The diplomatic effort – convincing tea party groups and their supporters that a traditional conservative is better than a Democrat – appears to be paying off in places such as North Carolina, where state House Speaker Thom Tillis "has a clear financial advantage" over more marginal challengers in the bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, according to the Journal.

In Colorado, the mainstream GOP persuaded tea party candidate Ken Buck to forgo challenging Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat, and instead run for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Cory Gardner, "clearing the way for Mr. Gardner to seek the Senate nomination," the Journal said.

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Gardner, according to the Journal, has more mainstream appeal. His campaign raised $1.4 million in the first quarter.

The GOP goal is a net gain of six Senate seats to retake control of the chamber.

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