Business Picks Battles Carefully Against Tea Party

Monday, 10 Mar 2014 07:23 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Business interests have not gone all out in contesting the tea party for control of the GOP, Politico reported.

In Michigan, for example, pro-business candidate Brian Ellis, who is challenging incumbent Rep. Justin Amash, has not garnered anticipated national business community backing for his campaign. The race typifies the guarded approach business is taking against tea party incumbents in the 2014 campaign.

David Herro, a Republican contributor, who wants to "take the party away from extremists" said the establishment was "making progress" but more needed to be done, Politico reported.

Establishment money no longer overwhelms the opposition. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will likely spend about $50 million on the 2014 campaign. In contrast, pro-tea party financiers have spent $28 million and are expected to go on spending freely throughout the midterm election season.

The anti-establishment Club for Growth has spent six figures attacking Ellis in radio and TV ads. It has also raised $150,000 for Amash, according to Politico.

Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, said that "big business already controls the Republican Party," that grass-roots voters "don't like their policies," and intend "to replace liberal Republicans with true, constitutional conservatives."

Meanwhile, Scott Reed of the Chamber of Commerce challenges the perception that his group has not been sufficiently forceful.

Reed told Politico the chamber has successfully blocked primary challenges from Club for Growth candidates, mentioning Bryan Smith's run in Idaho against Chamber-endorsed incumbent Rep. Mike Simpson.

"That's a good fight for us and a fight we're going to take all the way," Reed said.

The chamber is also backing Republicans such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia, and Sen. John Cornyn in Texas. It helped Bradley Byrne in an Alabama runoff election in December overcome Dean Young.

And in Florida, the chamber spent heavily in support of Dave Jolly, who is facing Democrat Alex Sink on Tuesday in the 13th Congressional District.

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