By Justin Sink - 02/06/13 02:44 PM EST
"Some people think the best we can do is Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock — they’re wrong," Rove told Fox News. "We need to do better if we hope to take over the United States Senate. We need to get better conservative candidates and win."
Akin and Mourdock, two Senate nominees who won with heavy Tea Party support in their Republican primaries, both damaged their 2012 general election campaigns with comments they made regarding rape. They later lost those contests in Indiana and Missouri, respectively, that Republicans had believed were winnable races.
“If the establishment's large donors want to see a complete electoral catastrophe, then all they need to do is push TeaParty conservatives into supporting alternative third candidates," Tea Party Express chairwoman Amy Kremer said in a statement, adding that Rove's group "is choosing power of principle, but will end up alienating conservatives and electoral losses."
On Tuesday, Rove rejected that characterization.
“This is not Tea Party versus the establishment,” Rove said. “I don’t want a fight.”
Instead, Rove said, the goal of the group was to help Republicans establish a governing majority.
“Our job is not to protect incumbents, it’s to win races by stopping the practice of giving away some of the seats, like we did in Missouri and Indiana this past year," Rove said. "And that may be telling the incumbent that if he’s going to be in the race, he shouldn’t expect any funds from Crossroads in the general election.”
Rove added that nominating candidates like Akin runs the risk of alienating important donors.
"We ran ads up until Akin made his stupid comment. Now our donors say to us, ‘Look, we don’t mind giving money, but why are backing candidates like Akin? Why are we stuck in the general election with candidates like Akin?’”