Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeCongress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default No deal in sight as Congress nears debt limit deadline Republicans struggle to save funding for Trump's border wall 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.
“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 PaulCongress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default Cotton swipes at Fauci: 'These bureaucrats think that they are the science' Paul, Cruz fire back after Fauci says criticism of him is 'dangerous' MORE (R-Ky.) and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioWisconsinites need infrastructure that is built to last Republicans struggle to save funding for Trump's border wall Rubio: Dropping FARC from terrorist list threatens Colombians, US security 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 FlakeRubio vows to slow-walk Biden's China, Spain ambassador nominees Senate confirms Thomas Nides as US ambassador to Israel Flake, Cindy McCain among latest Biden ambassadors confirmed after delay MORE (Ariz.) and Texas solicitor general Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate nearing deal on defense bill after setback Congress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table 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.