Voters have turned away from the Tea Party / Freedom Caucus movement (1 Viewer)


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Aug 9, 2004
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Establishment-aligned GOP primary candidates for Congress beat conservative challengers this summer in just about every major matchup, a stark reversal of the dynamic that’s driven Republican politics since 2010.

Tea party candidates failed to take out a single GOP incumbent this year; among the higher-profile targets who survived were Sen. John McCain of Arizona, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas and Reps. John Shimkus of Illinois and Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania.

More glaring, given the difficulty of toppling an incumbent, was the inability of conservatives groups like the Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund to capture more than a handful of open seats, as conservative candidates who pledged to vote with the far-right House Freedom Caucus fell to contenders backed by mainstream Republican groups, including two in Arizona and Florida on Tuesday.

The results upended recent GOP primary history, in which establishment candidates have consistently been on defense trying to shield incumbents from challengers from their right. This year, establishment-aligned groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined with Joe Ricketts’ Ending Spending group (which has also backed more conservative candidates in the past) to not only fend off challengers but proactively target seats.
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Establishment backers say their candidates’ message — governing with conservative values to deliver for their districts, instead of contributing to D.C. gridlock — has broken through. Physician Roger Marshall defeated [Tim] Huelskamp [Kansas], who lost his critical seat on the Agriculture Committee after obstructing Republican leaders too many times, on that platform.

“The lesson is that local beats national, and good candidates who focus on governing win elections,” said the Chamber’s political director, Rob Engstrom, who played a key role in the Kansas race. “Instead of getting in the boat and rowing, and pushing back against President Obama, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, some candidates chose to ... only say ‘no’ to everything and marginalize themselves. Voters want candidates who represent their districts and who are proposing real solutions.”

Read more: GOP establishment trounces tea party in congressional primaries - POLITICO
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