Tea Party Endorsements Include SC's Mark Sanford

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Monday, 17 Mar 2014 10:13 AM

By Melanie Batley

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FreedomWorks, the tea party political action committee, is announcing on Monday its top endorsements of incumbent Republican lawmakers, among them Rep. Mark Sanford, the former disgraced governor of South Carolina.

Sanford is among a dozen politicians to get the group's backing, including Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe; South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott; Idaho Sen. Jim Risch; Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie; Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon; Georgia Rep. Tom Graves; Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine; Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert; Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp; and Florida Reps. Ron DeSantis and Ted Yoho, Politico reports.

"There are two main objectives heading into 2014: We have to expand the freedom caucus in the House and Senate, but we also have to protect the champions that have been repopulating the GOP over the past few years," FreedomWorks spokeswoman Jackie Bodnar told Politico in an email. "There's a forward-looking and a defensive strategy to each of these cycles."

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Sanford was backed by FreedomWorks in his successful 2013 campaign for Congress in a special election to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Tim Scott, having made a political comeback  after an extramarital affair in 2009 that included a brief disappearance to Buenos Aires to visit his mistress.

FreedomWorks has also endorsed several challengers, including Matt Bevin, who is attempting to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The group is expected to roll out more endorsements in the coming weeks. It has already endorsed incumbent GOP Reps. Mike Pompeo of Kansas and Tom McClintock of California, Politico reported.

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