Tea Party senator unveils new PAC

Sen. Mike LeeMike LeeDivisions emerge in the Senate on pre-existing conditions Abortion poses hurdle for Senate healthcare bill GOP senators to Turkey: Apologize for DC brawl 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 PaulRand PaulSheriff Clarke denies plagiarism report, calls reporter a 'sleaze bag' GOP talks of narrowing ‘blue-slip’ rule for judges House votes to expand death penalty for police killings MORE (R-Ky.) and Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioDHS extends protected status for Haitians for six months Congress should let local communities set their own PACE Rubio: ‘People got what they voted for’ 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 FlakeJeff FlakeGOP talks of narrowing ‘blue-slip’ rule for judges Republicans consumed by Trump-Comey saga Senate panel approves bill allowing some border patrol agents to skip polygraphs MORE (Ariz.) and Texas solicitor general Ted CruzTed CruzGOP talks of narrowing ‘blue-slip’ rule for judges Abortion poses hurdle for Senate healthcare bill Senator's photo spurs caption contest 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.