Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee has hired the political strategist of the tea party group FreedomWorks to help him in his tough re-election campaign, Politico reports
Russ Walker left the conservative organization earlier this month, and will become Lee’s national political director, an aide to the senator told the website.
Adam Brandon, executive vice president of FreedomWorks, said Walker was not involved in the staff shake-up that has occurred since the group’s previous leader, Dick Armey, was ousted two years ago.
"Mike Lee’s re-election in 2016, I can’t see a higher priority for us," Brandon said. "If Russ went any place else I’d be [upset]. That’s the place where he needs to be, and having our top political guy … supporting that effort, that’s as good as it gets.
"We will be re-endorsing Mike Lee for his re-election, and that will be a major effort of ours."
Lee was swept into office in 2010, defeating the incumbent GOP Sen. Bob Bennett, as part of the tea party wave that also saw the election of his good friend, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
But tea party groups and primary candidates have struggled in the current election cycle, with established Republicans better prepared to take on the more conservative faction, according to Politico.
FreedomWorks failed in its recent attempts to drive out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and also unsuccessfully backed a primary challenger to Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch in 2012.
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