Karl Rove Plans GOP Victory in Midterms at Tea Party's Expense

Image: Karl Rove Plans GOP Victory in Midterms at Tea Party's Expense

Wednesday, 07 May 2014 07:58 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Republican strategist Karl Rove has set his sights on helping Sen. Mitch McConnell win the GOP primary this month against tea party opponent Matt Bevin following his success with establishment conservative Thom Tillis in North Carolina.

Rove, who plotted George W. Bush’s rise to the presidency in 2000 and his re-election in 2004, has become the go-to man in the Republican Party as he sets out to help the GOP regain control of the Senate in November.

And despite his strong conservative values, the tea party is being shoved aside in his quest, according to The Huffington Post. He’s now targeted tea party darling Bevin in the May 20 primary against McConnell, his longtime ally.

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

Rove funneled $1.5 million of "dark money" to Tillis from his American Crossroads organization to beat off a challenge from tea party favorite Dr. Greg Bannon, who was backed by Sen. Rand Paul, the Post reported.

With Rove’s support, the House speaker in the N.C. legislature took 40 percent of the vote against his seven GOP rivals and will not have to face a costly runoff election in July. Tillis will now face vulnerable Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan, an Obamacare advocate, in the midterm elections.

According to the Post, Rove uses his political savvy to pick and choose establishment GOP candidates in swing states and the South who are both conservative enough to appeal to the far right in November while also having shown enough moderate opinions to attract the centrists.

Although it appears that Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has all the power in the party, Rove’s unparalleled ability to raise funds and support staff makes him "The Man to See," as the Post calls it, for campaign advice, and cash.

In the next two weeks, Rove is planning to follow the same footprint he planted in the Tillis victory while helping McConnell take on Bevin in the GOP primary.

Although the incumbent is a clear front-runner, Rove is taking no chances. Both he and McConnell won’t have forgotten how in 2010 Rand Paul, a Libertarian, defeated the minority leader’s handpicked Senate candidate.

McConnell needs Rove’s expertise because if he wins the primary, he’ll face a tight race against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s secretary of state.

McConnell’s close adviser Jesse Benton says the senator’s appeal is based on his reputation as a principled conservative who also has establishment credentials as a five-term incumbent.

"Mitch looks to his conservative principles first," Benton said. "But if he can’t get everything he wants, he isn’t afraid to look for compromise. It’s not his first choice, but it is not a dirty word."

The strategy of compromise when necessary can be risky when candidates face an election, but one that Rove and his American Crossroads foundation feel is enough to push him over the winning line in November, the Huffington Post adds.

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

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