Some heavyweight Republican senators say that the party’s establishment and the tea party must work together better to avoid election defeats like the ones the GOP just suffered.
Much of the problem has evidenced itself in vicious primaries, they tell Politico
. The establishment needs to improve in recruiting and then standing up for strong candidates. And it also needs to enlist the assistance of the tea party, the senators say.
“We ought to make certain that if we get engaged in primaries, that we’re doing it based on the desires, the electability and the input of people back in the states that we’re talking about, not from the perception of what political operatives from Washington, D.C., think about who ought to be the candidate,” Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, the incoming National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chairman, told Politico."
To move in that direction, she appointed incoming Texas freshman Sen. Ted Cruz as vice chairman for grass roots and outreach. The idea is to use Cruz’s tea party connections to attract other tea partyers to the establishment. Other senators popular with the conservative grass roots, such as Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, also may be enlisted in the cause.
The opportunities are ripe because the Democrats have 20 Senate seats to defend in 2014, compared to just 13 for the GOP.
Moderate Republicans, predictably, say the party should shift toward the center after its loss of two Senate seats in the elections earlier this month.
“They [Republicans] are going to have to decide whether they want to be in the majority or the minority,” retiring centrist Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, told The New York Times. “It simply doesn’t make sense if Republicans decide they’re going to drive an ideological agenda as opposed to a practical agenda that is aligned with the principles of our roots.”
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