Tea Party Targets Rep. Pittenger After Shutdown Vote

Thursday, 07 Nov 2013 04:22 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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The Tea Party has set its sights on ousting North Carolina Rep. Robert Pittenger after he voted with Democrats to end the government shutdown.

The Virginia-based Tea Party Leadership Fund PAC is planning to back a primary challenge in 2014 against the first-term Republican, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Pittenger was among 87 Republicans who voted with Democrats to reopen the government against tea party supporters in Congress who wanted to overhaul the Affordable Care Act as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling.

The Fund's treasurer and general counsel Dan Backer believes that Pittenger betrayed his party with his vote by, in essence, supporting funding for President Barack Obama's healthcare act.

"You have failed to honor your commitment to your constituents and the values they entrusted you to uphold," wrote Backer in a note to Pittenger. "All leaders must face and accept accountability for their choices. You chose to disregard your pledge to these American voters and now must be held accountable."

Pittenger told the Charlotte Observer, "I understand and appreciate their concerns regarding Obamacare, I voted against it 15 times. The Democrats just didn't want to cooperate. I just didn't feel like what they (the tea party) were pursuing made sense. I'm fully committed to dismantling Obamacare.

"What I think they didn't understand, maybe still don't, is the political process. They only had 14 votes in the Senate. There's no way it would pass."

But Backer said: "At the end of the day, (Pittenger) voted to continue funding the government at these unsustainable current levels, to increase the debt limit without a single concession, and to fund Obamacare. Pittenger and the surrender caucus folded like a cheap deck of cards."

The Fund has asked Pittenger to return a $1,000 campaign donation it had given him.

Pittenger, 65, is a former North Carolina senator. He was defeated in his bid to become lieutenant governor in 2008. He won in his first attempt to get to Washington beating Democrat Jennifer Roberts by 52 percent to 47 percent in the Tar Heel State's 9th district which covers Charlotte and areas to the south and north.

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