The greatest threat to Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch’s 35-year career may come from FreedomWorks, a powerful tea party group based in Washington, D.C. The group is spending big to defeat Hatch as he faces a caucus vote Thursday, Politico reports
FreedomWorks is set to spend $615,000 to defeat Hatch — dwarfing the $1,700 it has doled out against Democratic Senate incumbents. The six-figure spending has been devoted to recruiting volunteers, electing prospective convention delegates, sending direct mail, and airing TV and radio ads.
The group also has spent $290,000 supporting other Republican Senate candidates and about $175,000 opposing President Barack Obama, federal campaign finance filings show.
FreedomWorks’ activity points to a key issue for Republicans as the party tries to win back control of the Senate this year. Should they support candidates who hold some moderate views but have an excellent chance of beating a Democrat, or should they back only candidates who are strongly conservative?
Hatch isn’t the only incumbent Republican senator facing tea party opposition this year. Richard Lugar of Indiana, who has served 35 years just like Hatch, also has drawn the ire of tea partyers for not skewing sufficiently conservative.
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