The Tea Party Patriots, a Georgia-based nonprofit, wants to ensure that a candidate “more conservative” than retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) will be the nominee of the GOP in next year’s Senatorial race.
To accomplish their goal the group that represents some 3,000 local tea party groups across the country announced it has filed paperwork to launch a super PAC. The Tea Party Citizens Fund is going to oppose “big spending politicians”, according to Tea Party Patriots founder Jenny Beth Martin.
Martin said the new super PAC will engage in Georgia’s Republican Senate primary if it believes a moderate candidate is set to win the race. So far none of the potential GOP candidates would be considered moderate by many, and most have been supported by tea party groups in earlier contests.
The lone announced candidate at this time is Rep. Paul Broun and he is an outspoken conservative with support among grassroots activists. Other Republicans are expected enter the race that also have claims to tea party support. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) is one such possible candidate- he would likely receive tea party support if he decided to enter the race.
The fear among independent fiscal conservatives and Republicans that favor a more moderate candidate is that the battle over the group’s endorsement may lead to already conservative candidates moving farther to the right simply to secure the coveted endorsement.
On the national level, the super PAC plans to challenge GOP strategist Karl Rove’s Conservative Victory Project, intensifying the fight within the party. Rove has said that the CVP will support “the most conservative candidate who can win” in primary races going into 2014. Rove is hoping to avoid untested conservative candidates like Todd Akin making it through the primaries only to lose the General Election, costing the GOP seats that should be easy pickups.
Martin told The Hill that it “looks like he’s challenging us, and we’re ready to rise to the challenge.”
The looming GOP internal battle only adds to the frustration that fiscal conservatives are feeling. In a red state like Georgia it is likely that independents and GOP members that are fiscally conservative but socially moderate will have less input in forming the Republican agenda if there is a battle within the party to produce the “more conservative” candidate.