Tea Party Heads For a Showdown With the GOP

Thursday, 08 May 2014 10:48 AM

By Lisa Degnen

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Rep. Justin Amash is heading for a harsh primary race in Michigan as companies and business groups support his challenger, and may be an example of what other tea party candidates will face.

According to Politico, major business leaders and some of his fellow Republicans are shunning Amash because of his tough conservative stance, voting no on virtually everything, including defense funding.

"Because my vote explanations shine a spotlight on Congress, I’ve upset people who are used to operating in the dark," Amash said in a statement, according to Politico. "They don’t like having their votes exposed as fringe and outside the mainstream."

Among those who are backing Amash's primary challenger, Brian Ellis, are several members of the powerful Midwest supermarket chain Meijer family and the political arms of Home Depot Inc., Dow Chemical Co., and the International Franchise Association.

While conservative donors such as the Koch Brothers and the Club for Growth, are funding Amash, one senior Michigan Republican donated $5,000 to the opposing Ellis campaign, a surprising move against a fellow sitting member.

"Once you get to know [Amash], and I know that district from being around Michigan for long enough, he’s completely out of line with these people," Rep. Mike Rogers told Politico. "He votes more with the Democrats than with the Republicans, and that’s not out of principle, that’s out of him branding himself as something different."

The move might represent what other tea party members will soon be facing from within the party, according to The Washington Post.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, as well as Sens. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Pat Roberts of Kansas, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee are facing challenges from tea party conservatives. All of the incumbents are expected to win. Texas Sen. John Cornyn already survived a tea party challenge.

CNN said that more moderate wins could improve the chances of Republicans taking a Senate majority this fall.

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