The biggest donors in the Republican Party are financing a new group to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party’s efforts to win control of the Senate.
The group, the Conservative Victory Project, is intended to counter other organizations that have helped defeat establishment Republican candidates over the last two election cycles. It is the most robust attempt yet by Republicans to impose a new sense of discipline on the party, particularly in primary races.
“There is a broad concern about having blown a significant number of races because the wrong candidates were selected,” said Steven J. Law, the president of American Crossroads, the “super PAC” creating the new project. “We don’t view ourselves as being in the incumbent protection business, but we want to pick the most conservative candidate who can win.”Politico reports on some negative reaction:
Both the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund – two of the most prominent groups that have boosted candidates on the right – mocked the new initiative as yet another hapless establishment-side attempt to muzzle the GOP base.
Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, branded it the “Conservative Defeat Project.”
“The Conservative Defeat Project is yet another example of the Republican establishment’s hostility toward its conservative base. Rather than listening to the grassroots and working to advance their principles, the establishment has chosen to declare war on the party’s most loyal supporters,” Hoskins said. “If they keep this up, the party will remain in the wilderness for decades to come.”
Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller essentially responded by pointing to the scoreboard in recent primaries in which conservative insurgents have prevailed and emerged as influential GOP leaders.