Mike Simpson Holds Off Tea Party Challenge in Idaho

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 08:01 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Rep. Mike Simpson overcame  tea party challenger Bryan Smith in Idaho's 2nd District Republican primary, The Washington Post reported.

Simpson had the backing of the Republican establishment, led by House Speaker John Boehner and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Smith was supported by the Club for Growth, Senate Conservatives Fund and FreedomWorks.

With about 25 percent of precincts reporting, Simpson was 26 points ahead of Smith, according to the Post.

Smith backers invested $600,000 in the campaign portraying Simpson as insufficiently conservative. The Club for Growth, however, stopped spending on behalf of Smith in April.

The pro-Simpson camp put almost $2.4 million into the campaign. Simpson also benefited significantly from Mitt Romney's endorsement in the district which he carried in 2012 and is home to many Mormons, Politico reported.

"The lesson in Idaho may be that the tea party telegraphed its strategy. They got behind Smith very early," said David Wasserman, an analyst with the Cook Political Report. That "awakened a sleeping giant in the Chamber of Commerce types and Boehner allies," the Post reported.

David French, chief lobbyist at the National Retail Federation and a Simpson supporter, said that the business community was investing more time and resources in primaries than it had in the past, the Post reported.

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