Republican Establishment Embracing Tea Party Principles

Thursday, 08 May 2014 06:47 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Tea party ideology is helping to set the 2014 campaign agenda by moving Republicans to take more conservative stances, even as some of the movement's own standard-bearers failed to achieve victory in Tuesday's North Carolina and Ohio primaries, The Wall Street Journal reported.

In North Carolina, Thom Tillis, the speaker of the state House, will be the Republican senatorial candidate against Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan. With establishment backing and endorsements from Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, he overcame a tea party challenger. Tillis embraced many tea party positions on climate change, on reducing the power of the federal government, and on educational philosophy.

Republican candidates nationwide have shifted noticeably to the right. It is a tilt that has paid off for establishment candidates including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts who are expected to overcome their tea party challengers.

In Mississippi, Sen. Thad Cochran is working hard to beat off a tea party opponent by adopting a more conservative stance on spending and debt. In Georgia, Rep. Jack Kingston, who is running in the GOP Senate primary, voted against House legislation that contained funding for dredging the Port of Savannah – even though he helped write the bill and strongly favors the project.

In Ohio, where tea party candidates mostly lost in Tuesday's primaries, GOP spokesman Chris Schrimpf said that the movement continues to have a home in the Republican Party. "I don't think it's the end of the tea party."

Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, chairman of the Democratic National Committee said, "The tea party has won the civil war that has been waged in the Republican Party," according to the Journal.


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