Tea Party senator unveils new PAC

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSupreme Court takes on same-sex wedding cake case House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama Trump really will shrink government, starting with national monuments MORE (R-Utah), a member of the Senate Tea Party Caucus, has established a new fundraising committee to support conservative candidates, and will not rule out challenging GOP incumbents.

Lee on Tuesday unveiled his new leadership political action committee (PAC), the Constitutional Conservatives Fund. It appears to be modeled on Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) Senate Conservatives Fund, which helped elect Tea Party-backed candidates to the Senate in 2010.

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“The purpose of it is to help find and support candidates for federal office who share my view that federal government has become too big and too expensive and believe in the need to restore what I refer to as constitutional-limited government,” Lee told The Hill.

DeMint used his leadership PAC for a similar purpose, helping elect Tea Party favorites including Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLexington mayor launches bid for Congress Trump-free Kennedy Center Honors avoids politics Meet the Iran hawk who could be Trump's next secretary of State MORE (R-Ky.) and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRyan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Richard Gere welcomes lawmakers' words of support for Tibet Dem lawmaker gives McConnell's tax reform op-ed a failing grade MORE (R-Fla.) over front-runners favored by the GOP establishment in Washington.

Lee has already endorsed two conservative candidates in GOP primaries for open Senate seats in Arizona and Texas: Rep. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat Sasse: RNC help for Roy Moore 'doesn't make any sense' Sasse calls RNC decision to resume support for Moore 'bad' and 'sad' MORE (Ariz.) and Texas solicitor general Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzDebbie Wasserman Schultz marks 10 years as breast cancer survivor Foreign agent registration is no magical shield against Russian propaganda Let Trump be Trump and he'll sail through 2020 MORE.


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Lee, who defeated three-term incumbent Sen. Bob Bennett (R) at Utah’s Republican primary convention in 2010, is not ruling out backing conservatives who might challenge his Senate colleagues.  

“It would be hypocritical of me if I were to say never, ever under any circumstances would I try to support someone trying to come here the same way I came here,” Lee said.

He added, however, he does not have his mind set on supporting any particular challenger against a particular incumbent right now.