Let Them Eat Each Other: Tea Party group coming to take on moderate Republicans
Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) recently admitted to a group of donors that the ongoing government shutdown was necessary to appease Tea Party groups which may otherwise take on moderate Republicans in next year’s primary.
“We have to do this because of the Tea Party. If we don’t, these guys are going to get primaried and they are going to lose their primary,” he said, as reported by Think Progress.
Well, as goes the U.S. Congress, so goes Pennsylvania.
Because it was then reported by the Keystone Report and PoliticsPA that the group American Future Fund would be coming into Pennsylvania to get to work on some legislative races. And that’s great news for the Democratic Party. According to a press release by the 501c(4) group,
The nationally known conservative group, American Future Fund (AFF), announced plans today to run a beta test in Pennsylvania of its project that is designed to hold conservatives’ feet to the fire to promote basic free market principles.
The goal of the beta test project will be to inform Pennsylvania voters of what their elected representatives are up to in Harrisburg. State legislators who campaign on free market principles should work to enact those principles rather than promote policies that further a liberal agenda. An informed electorate will hold these legislators accountable for the campaign promises they made and ensure they truly represent the people of Pennsylvania.
But where are they headed? According to PoliticsPA, southeast Pennsylvania. And they’re specifically targeting those senators who supported the transportation funding bill and Medicaid expansion — and those who helped stall liquor privatization in the spring (looking at you Sen. McIlhinney (R-Chester)).
AFF previously, and unsuccessfully, spent $1.67 million in the commonwealth to help Mitt Romney during the 2012 election season. The Massachusetts Republican lost Pennsylvania by five points.
Forty-five Senators voted for the transportation funding bill (which would help fund the state’s roads, bridges, mass transit like SEPTA, among other things) when it was in that chamber last year. All southeast Republicans voted for it.
Many southeast Pennsylvania Republicans (those representing Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Berks) are up for re-election in 2014, which means the getting will be good for both the Tea Party group and the Democrats who may come into to pick up the shattered pieces post-primary, and work to put one of their own into office for the first time in a long time.
Republicans have a four-seat majority in the state Senate, in spite of Pennsylvania having become a solid blue state in national elections over the past couple decades. Democrats have not held a majority of seats in the State House since 1993.
Swapping moderate Republicans for Tea Party candidates can sometimes lead to positive results for the ultra conservative sect (Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, though he served as an advisor to President Bush, was considered a grassroots Tea Party candidate), but more often – as was the case in Delaware and Nevada in the 2010 elections, and others in 2012 – find Democrats coming out on top due to the overall stubbornness of the Tea Party.
If the Dems also come out on top in the governor’s race, which is looking more likely, and southeast Pennsylvania Republicans cannot distance themselves from Corbett over the next year (for fear of losing their primary) it could spell trouble along the Taggart Transcontinental Railroad.