Tea Party Patriots, a prominent national group, is launching a super-PAC to engage heavily in Senate races and plans to target at least three Republican incumbents.
Jenny Beth Martin, the group’s president, highlighted Senate races in South Carolina, where Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamSchumer, Cardin to introduce legislation on Russia sanctions Graham says he will vote for Tillerson The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE faces four primary challengers; Kentucky, where Sen. Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellTrump to meet with congressional leaders Monday: report Meet Trump's secret weapon on infrastructure Senate confirms first nominees of Trump era MORE (R-Ky.) is facing a challenge from businessman Matt Bevin; and Mississippi, where Sen. Thad CochranThad CochranGOP senators voice misgivings about short-term spending bill Trump's wrong to pick Bannon or Sessions for anything Bottom Line MORE is facing a challenge from state Sen. Chris McDaniel, as priorities for the political action committee.
“We are currently huddling with activists on the ground in South Carolina looking for an alternative to Senator Lindsay Graham, and in Kentucky, where many have lost faith in the Senate Minority Leader,” she said in a statement. “We will be expanding the mission into the Mississippi, Nebraska, Louisiana, Arkansas and North Carolina Senate races shortly.”
The open Senate race in Nebraska features five Republicans running in the primary, while Democratic senators in Louisiana, Arkansas and North Carolina are top Republican targets in 2014.
The super-PAC, and others from the same conservative wing of the party, could complicate Republican chances of picking up some of those seats, however.
Weak candidates nominated with help from outside conservative groups last election cycle lost the GOP winnable races in Missouri and Indiana. And establishment Republicans have pledged not to let a similar scenario cost the party what many believe to be their last shot at taking the majority for a decade.
In Louisiana, the establishment’s chosen candidate, Rep. Bill Cassidy, is facing two conservative challengers, one of which has gained the backing of a number of national conservative groups. In North Carolina, the establishment pick is in a six-way primary.
The super-PAC appears to be geared more toward grassroots organizing than heavy advertising efforts in those races. It will provide activists with resources they might otherwise not have access to, such as voter identification software and polling data.
“Unlike other Super PACs that drop in negative ads from their perches in Washington, DC, to trash opponents, TPPCF will empower the people to have the most impact in the targeted districts and states,” Martin said.
© Greg Nash