Karl Rove launches initiative to keep tea party candidates out of elections
The organizers of American Crossroads hope to bring electoral victory to the Republican Party by defeating unelectable tea party candidates in GOP primary races. The new super PAC, called the Conservative Victory Project, will be run by American Crossroads president Steven Law and is supported by former Bush political adviser Karl Rove.
“There is a broad concern about having blown a significant number of races because the wrong candidates were selected,” Law told the New York Times on Saturday. “We don’t view ourselves as being in the incumbent protection business, but we want to pick the most conservative candidate who can win.”
The Victory Project plans to oppose candidates like Christine O’Donnell, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock. Though running in places where Republicans were favored, the tea party-backed candidates lost the general election after defeating moderate Republicans in the primary. Many tea party candidates who were victorious in 2010, such as Allen West and Joe Walsh, also ended up being defeated by Democratic challengers in 2012.
Victory Project spokesman Jonathan Collegio told CNN that Republicans lost six Senate races in the last two election cycles because they nominated “undisciplined candidates” rather than Republican veterans.
The group favors William F. Buckley’s dictum to nominate “the most conservative candidate in the primary who can win the general election,” over Ronald Reagan’s commandment, “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”
Collegio insisted the Victory Project wanted to elect conservatives.
“But we have to win general elections,” he added.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who has a history of incendiary comments about immigrants, could be one of the organization’s first targets, according to Law. The ultra-conservative Republican indicated last month that he was seriously considering running for the U.S. Senate in 2014.
Conservative groups have blasted the new initiative, and were quick to note that moderate Republicans fared no better than tea party candidates in 2012.
“The Conservative Defeat Project is yet another example of the Republican establishment’s hostility toward its conservative base,” said Matt Hoskins of the Senate Conservatives Fund said. “Rather than listening to the grassroots and working to advance their principles, the establishment has chosen to declare war on its party’s most loyal supporters. If they keep this up, the Republican Party will remain in the wilderness for decades to come.”
[Image via Flickr user Sachyn, Creative Commons-licensed]