Report: Chamber to hit Tea Party with $50M

The Chamber of Commerce is planning to spend at least $50 million on a campaign to boost establishment Republicans in primaries against Tea Party challengers, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The group's broader aim is to help the GOP win Senate control and block Tea Party Republican candidates who might lose otherwise winnable seats to Democrats.

"Our No. 1 focus is to make sure, when it comes to the Senate, that we have no loser candidates," Chamber political strategist Scott Reed tells the Journal. "That will be our mantra: No fools on our ticket."

The organization has been gearing up for a more confrontational approach toward Tea Party Republicans since the government shutdown. It has already been involved in some special elections for House primaries, and is supporting Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) against his Tea Party primary foe.

Hard-right, mistake-prone Senate candidates are widely perceived to have cost the GOP five Senate seats in recent years, in states including Missouri, Indiana and Delaware.

Potential states that could be ripe for Chamber involvement include Georgia, Iowa and North Carolina, where Tea Party candidates could complicate their party's chances of winning Senate seats.

The Chamber's push is part of a larger effort by establishment and business Republicans to seize back control of their party, according to the report.