Heavyweight conservative activists warn that Republican congressmen who sign off on a tax increase better be ready for a primary challenge from the right.
The two biggest names on that list are Sens. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Politico reports
. They face re-election campaigns in 2014 and have said they may be willing to jettison the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) anti-tax pledge.
“If I see a Republican signing off on a tax increase, at that point he loses his or her conservative credentials,” Brent Bozell, chairman of ForAmerica, an online network of millions of conservatives, told the news service. He pledged to unite his supporters against incumbents who vote for higher taxes.
Chambliss isn’t taking the threat lying down. “I think that you sent me to Washington to think for myself. And I want to vote the way you want me to vote,” Chambliss told local constituents at a Republican Party event Saturday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
“I don’t want to be dictated to by anybody in Washington, as to how I’m going to vote on anything.” He was likely referring to ATR President Grover Norquist.
One neutral GOP strategist criticized Chambliss’ strategy. “He does not know how to talk to Georgia Republicans,” this person told The Washington Post. “This whole thing with Norquist — why bother? You’re just kicking sand at people who already hate you.”
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