Skip to comments.Republican Establishment Sweeps Tea Party in First Round of Primaries
Posted on 05/06/2014 10:08:26 PM PDT by PaulCruz2016
North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis won the Republican Senate nomination in the Tar Heel State on Tuesday evening, comfortably surpassing the 40 percent threshold to win the nomination. His victory ratifies the aggressive strategy adopted by establishment-oriented outside groups, led by American Crossroads, to spend millions on behalf of favored candidates and attack their rivals when necessary.
North Carolina was the opening battleground in the fight between the Republican Party's two main factions, and it's a sign the establishment's no-holds-barred strategy is paying off. American Crossroads spent $1.6 million on behalf of Tillis, significantly more than the resources of Republican challengers Greg Brannon and Mark Harris. They aired three ads, which each touted Tillis's conservative record and rebutted Democratic attacks against him.
The goal was simple: Increase Tillis's low name identification, knowing his opponents wouldn't have the resources to fight back. In January, the group commissioned a survey from veteran GOP pollster Jan van Lohuizen showing Tillis only tallying 16 percent in the crowded field, with 60 percent of Republican voters unsure of their choice. Just over one-quarter of North Carolina GOP voters were familiar with Tillis. But in the middle of their advertising blitz in late April, another poll commissioned by Crossroads and conducted by van Lohuizen found Tillis's name identification had shot up to 66 percent, with him tallying 38 percent of the primary vote. That same poll showed only about one-third of voters familiar with Brannon and Harris.
Their strategy was twofold: Spend early to avoid a financially costly runoff that could wound Tillis for the general election and begin to make the case against embattled Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. It worked, with Tillis winning well over 40 percent across the board, in most North Carolina counties.
"The stakes were pretty high for us to get him there," American Crossroads Political Director Carl Forti said. "We may have had to spend significantly more to get [Tillis] through a runoff, and that's money that's not going to other important races."
The Karl Rove-aligned super PAC took heat last year from conservatives for announcing the formation of the Conservative Victory Project, an effort designed to prevent less-electable candidates from winning primaries. But with considerably less fanfare, the group achieved the same results by employing a similar strategy to boost Tillis. Crossroads officials said that it's likely they will get involved in additional primaries, given the successful outcome in North Carolina.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent over $1 million in ads backing Tillis, also saw two other endorsed candidates prevail in contested primariesRep. David Joyce in Ohio and North Carolina congressional candidate David Rouzer. The pro-business lobby attacked Joyce and Rouzer's conservative primary challengers as sleazy "trial lawyers" in ads, before they could catch any momentum. House Speaker John Boehner also comfortably prevailed in his primary, winning 69 percent of the vote.
The establishment is also gaining momentum in the run-up to the next wave of congressional primaries in Nebraska (May 13); Georgia, Idaho, and Kentucky (May 20); and Iowa and Mississippi (June 3). Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to easily prevail against tea-party challenger Matt Bevin, despite outside conservative groups' involvement in support of Bevin. In a sign of early exuberance, Republican National Committee spokesman Jahan Wilcox tweeted "next stop is that fraud Matt Bevin!" after the Associated Press called the race for Tillis.
Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho is now favored to fend off a challenge from Club for Growth-backed attorney Bryan Smith. Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst, the candidate favored by Iowa GOP Gov. Terry Branstad, is winning support from establishment allies (Mitt Romney) and tea-party favorites (Sarah Palin) alike. In Georgia, the weakest Republican candidates are fading in the primary, making it more likely Republicans will nominate a strong opponent against Democrat Michelle Nunn.
The establishment's biggest test will come in Mississippi, where Sen. Thad Cochran is relying on allies aligned with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour to fend off a serious challenge from state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who is supported by leading outside conservative groups.
Tea Party is getting swamped because the low information candidates they run are easy pickings for the Democrats.
We saw how the Democrats buried TP Senate candidates in 2010 and 2012.
No wonder Harry Reid loved them and their political missteps were the comedic fodder for late night comedians.
Hard to win against the establishment when they have so much money on their side.
Too bad they wasted all that money. Who do they think will vote for them? Libtards? The GOPe stepped on it. Unless they can now get votes the way Rats do, fraud and bought.
Wow, they may win in advertisements but will they win in votes? If they continue to piss off the Tea Party, they will only be defeating themselves. Such are the idiot Republicans! Sorry, but I tend to hate all politicians and when they have been in office for some time, they are the enemy.
And they recruited better candidates. The establishment knows a thing or two about winning elections.
We don’t have to like them but they’re the only game in town.
The GOPe deserves big losses in November
Conservatives are idiotic imbeciles if they remain in the GOP.
Our ideology is about to be rendered totally irrelevant because we bought the lie that Conservatism cannot win as a third party when the Ruling Class own and runs the GOP according to their rules.
I thought the tea party did pretty well in 2010, and in 2012.
Cruz made 2012 worthwhile.
Amnesty is a done deal now. The GOOBs know they can be DemocRATS Lite and still win.
My brother honestly told me 2 months ago he does not know what the Tea Party stands for.
It is discombobulated and they have no media front.
Your propaganda never stops, from foreign affairs to domestic politics.
Really? They blew winnable contests in Nevada, Delaware, Indiana and Missouri.
No wonder the Democrats held onto the Senate. A candidate has to be electable.
And the GOP wants to win in November.
The official Tea Party groups are a bunch of hacks who spend money on themselves and give almost no money to candidates. They also do a terrible job in recruiting and vetting candidates. I have fought the “establishment” GOP all my life, but in Kansas the Tea Party is running an idiot.
That is a very stupid statement.
The Tea Party does an AWFUL job in candidate recruitment, they really, really suck at it! The Tea Party also wastes money on frills and does not know how to fund campaigns.
When the TP runs idiots for office, they are the Democratic gift out of Central Casting.
That TP-favored guy in Kansas won’t beat a Democrat. And the establishment is fed up and tired of taking it on the chin.
The GOPe just don’t get it. They have been playing games with their “friends across the aisle” for decades but now the money is gone. Time to move over and let the adults drive.
“The GOPe deserves big losses in November”
While I am a GOPe hater too, what will loosing in November get us except two more years of Harry Reid and Co. The other poster is right about the quality of the candidates being part of the mix. In NC, Tillis might not have won if there were only one other candidate on the ballot. But having seven insured Tillis’ would be a shoo in. The Tea Party needs to figure out whom to run and work to get the rest to stay out. Name identity is very important. People won’t just go pull the handle for any Jed Clampett who came up with the registration fee.
If that happens, then to hell with the GOP.
What you really mean is that they recruited those that would go along with their platform and be like the Democrats - always vote Republican regardless of the issue.
Well, I for one will NOT go along with their philosophy! I want independent folks, farmers, workers, welders, etc. who can represent the public. If they insist on pushing their candidate on the public that are “bought” or otherwise dedicated to the party, I want nothing to do with them!
That will be the downfall of the Republicans which I see as a party that has lost its way. This election will be the final determination whether we continue to support them or go for a third party. It will happen although the Republican Party continues to fail at understanding their party. This is their last chance and I continue to think that they are lost and will fail again! Would love to be an apologist though...fat chance!