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Tea Party Super PAC Targets Rove and GOP Establishment

Tuesday, 12 Feb 2013 09:34 AM

By Lisa Barron

The establishment and grassroots elements of the Republican Party could be headed for a mighty clash of super PACs, as one of the nation's leading tea party groups gets ready to take on political strategist Karl Rove and his plan to challenge extreme conservatives in the 2014 GOP primaries.

“He sounds like he's challenging us and we're ready to rise to the challenge,” Jenny Beth Martin, found of the Georgia-based Tea Party Patriots, told The Hill newspaper.

The Patriots last week established their own super PAC, the Citizens Fund, to help promote tea party candidates for the House and Senate in mid-term elections.

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“I’m going to be engaging with the donors over the next several weeks to let them know what we’re doing and to show them that we can do what the Republican Party is not doing right now, which is building a ground game,” said Martin.

The Citizens Fund will go up against Rove's own Conservative Victory Project, which he said last week was created to back “the most conservative” candidates “who can win” rather than tea party candidates, whose extreme views he believes were devastating to the GOP in the 2012 elections.

“Some people think the best we can do is [Missouri Senate candidate] Todd Akin and [Indiana Senate candidate] Richard Mourdock — they’re wrong,” Rove told Fox News, referring to statements on abortion and rape by the two failed tea party candidates that created a storm of controversy last year.

Martin issued a statement in response to Rove's plan, calling the Colorado native, who engineered President George W. Bush's presidential campaigns, part of “the consultant class” that “has been on the wrong side of history.” She said it’s “time for conservatives to wake up and stop funding their sabotage of conservatism.”

She later told The Hill that opposing Rove “wasn’t our sole intention, but if we’re forced to do that, we understand that our first battle is the Republican establishment.

“The supporters around the country are very dissatisfied with the Republicans right now, and the calls for engagement with a third party are higher now than they’ve ever been,” she said.

Martin said she might try to match the $328 million Rove says he has raised for his PAC by reaching out to big donors and appealing for funds online. She also suggested the Citizens Fund could buy voter information databases along the lines of the ones President Barack Obama’s campaign created in 2008 and 2012.

She also listed Georgia, Iowa, South Carolina, and Montana as a few of the states where tea party candidates could get help from the new Citizens Fund PAC.

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