Conservative group warns of primaries for those who don't back ObamaCare repeal

Conservative group warns of primaries for those who don't back ObamaCare repeal
© Greg Nash

A top conservative group is threatening primary challenges to senators who vote against a repeal of ObamaCare after Senate Republicans failed to coalesce around a replacement plan. 

Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who now serves as the president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, drew the line in the sand on Tuesday, soon after reports surfaced that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Shutdown Day 25 | Dems reject White House invite for talks | Leaders nix recess with no deal | McConnell blocks second House Dem funding bill | IRS workers called back for tax-filing season | Senate bucks Trump on Russia sanctions Mellman: Why does the GOP persist? Leaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight MORE (R-Ky.) plans to hold a repeal vote even though it's already clear he doesn't have the votes to pass it. 

"Republicans have promised to repeal Obamacare for years and now with President Trump in the White House, there is no excuse for them to break their promise," Cuccinelli said. 

"Working with the grassroots across the country, we will seek to identify, recruit, and fund conservative challengers against Republican senators who vote against repeal. If they won’t keep their word and if they can’t find the courage to repeal a liberal takeover of our health care system that has hurt so many American families, they should be replaced by someone who will.”
 
The threat raises the electoral stakes for Republican senators who oppose the repeal-only plan — so far, that group includes Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiLeaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight McConnell: Senate will not recess if government still shutdown Kaine threatens to object to Senate leaving for recess MORE (Alaska), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Defense: Trump faces blowback over report he discussed leaving NATO | Pentagon extends mission on border | Senate advances measure bucking Trump on Russia sanctions Senate advances measure bucking Trump on Russia sanctions Mnuchin meets with Senate GOP to shore up ranks on Russia sanctions vote MORE (Maine) and Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoRepublican senators skeptical of using national emergency for wall funding NASA facility in West Virginia renamed after native and 'hidden figure' Katherine Johnson Trump leaves GOP in turmoil with shutdown looming MORE (W.Va.).
 
None of them are up for reelection in 2018 — Collins and Capito are up again in 2020, while Murkowski doesn't have to worry about reelection until 2022.

But the warning ups the pressure on lawmakers such as Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerTrump’s shifting Cabinet to introduce new faces Trump's most memorable insults and nicknames of 2018 Progressive strategist says changing demographics will help Dems MORE (R-Nev.), who faces the most difficult reelection path of any incumbent Republican senator in 2018.