GOP Spent $23M Against Tea Party Candidates

Thursday, 26 Jun 2014 08:40 AM

By Melanie Batley

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The GOP establishment is determined to make sure mainstream Republicans emerge the victors over tea party candidates in this year's primaries, and roughly 20 competitive races across the country have already received $23 million in independent expenditures which are paying off.

According to Politico, the establishment decided to play hardball against tea party candidates after learning from its defeats in 2010 and 2012, and losing patience with conservative lawmakers who obstruct the party's ability to achieve its agenda in Congress.

Politico reports former Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan said, "I think we have to keep on winning. I think we have to show up and make sure that our candidates are not going to be complacent and that they start early. That wake-up call certainly seems to have gotten through."

Approximately two dozen advocacy groups, industry associations, and super PACs are throwing their weight behind the establishment in addition to cash from the party's organizations and the campaigns of the candidates themselves.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has spent roughly a third of the total expenditure, having pledged after the October government shutdown that it would actively recruit and support mainstream candidates. American Crossroads has also been a prolific spender, as well as a number of super PACs controlled by individual donors.

"All told, the collection of Washington-sanctioned entities marshaled a level of firepower that matched or exceeded what conservative activist groups were able to deploy in any given race," Politico noted.

"But with a few exceptions, in the races where the establishment and the right have gone head to head, the latter has come up short."

Establishment figures say they have no choice but to wade in to ensure that electable candidates are on the ballot in November, particularly as the control of the Senate is hanging in the balance and conservatives have blocked progress on a number of issues in the House.

Dan Conston, communications director for the American Action Network, said the group "felt it was important to support electable, center-right candidates in their primaries."

"They not only offer our best chance for victory November, but they'd be productive members of a governing House majority," he said, according to Politico.


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