Tea Party group backs challenge to House Transportation chairman
© Greg Nash

A major Tea Party group said it is endorsing a primary challenge to House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), one day before the state’s primary.

In a statement on Monday, Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund Chairman Jenny Beth Martin said the super PAC affiliated with the group is backing Art Halvorson’s candidacy.

“Art Halvorson wants to rescue America. He is a strong constitutional conservative who, like many of his soon-to-be constituents, feels that the Republican Party has betrayed him,” Martin said.

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“He is exactly the kind of citizen-legislator the Founders had in mind when they contemplated the makeup of the House of Representatives,” she added.

The endorsement from one of the nation’s largest Tea Party groups presents a boost to Halvorson’s campaign, which has lagged in fundraising behind the powerful 15-year incumbent.

Halvorson, a retired Coast Guard captain and real estate entrepreneur, unsuccessfully challenged Shuster in the GOP primary two years ago. But he’s seized upon revelations this cycle that Shuster is dating an airline lobbyist while chairing the House Transportation Committee.

Halvorson nonetheless faces long odds for pulling an upset on Tuesday night.

The most recent fundraising reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show that Shuster has raised about $2.6 million. By contrast, Halvorson has raised about $64,000 and loaned his campaign $200,000.

The Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund has endorsed a handful of candidates challenging House incumbents this year, but so far none have been successful. In addition to Halvorson, the group endorsed Becky Gerritson, who had challenged Rep. Martha RobyMartha Dubina RobyOcasio-Cortez: 'I was stopped because it was assumed I was an intern' Insurgency shakes up Democratic establishment Dem House candidate claims Russians tried to hack campaign website MORE (R-Ala.); Matt Lynch over Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio); and Steve Toth, who tried to unseat House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradySocial Security won't be able to fund full payouts by 2035 Treasury to miss Dem deadline for Trump tax returns Treasury expected to miss Dem deadline on Trump tax returns MORE (R-Texas).

No incumbent House lawmaker has lost their party’s nomination for reelection to date in 2016.