“Conservative Victory Project” will support “the most conservative candidates who can win”
With designs on winning control of the U.S. Senate in 2014, a new SuperPac financed by the biggest donors in the Republican Party has been formed to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from they types of primary challenges that resulted in the candidacies Todd Akin, Richard Murdock and Christine O’Donnell, according to an article in The New York Times.
Akin of Missouri, Murdock of Indiana and O’Donnell of Delaware each defeated establishment Republican candidates in Senate Republican primaries and went on to lose general elections that Republicans were expected to win after making public statements considered too far-right and out of the mainstream. Akin and Murdock lost in 2012. O’Donnell lost in 2010.
“There is a broad concern about having blown a significant number of races because the wrong candidates were selected,” said Steven J. Law, the president of American Crossroads, the “super PAC” creating the new project. “We don’t view ourselves as being in the incumbent protection business, but we want to pick the most conservative candidate who can win.”D
2014 Senate races in Iowa and Georgia will be the initial focus of the Conservative Victory Project. Senators Tom Harkin (D) of Iowa and Saxby Chambliss (R) of Georgia have announced their retirements, creating wide open races for those seats.
Preventing the Senate nomination of Iowa Congressman Steve King is an early objective of the project. Last week Harper Polling published a survey indicating that King in favored over the more moderate Republican Congressman Tom Latham in both a multi-candidate and head to head Republican primary for Harkin’s seat. The same survey indicated that Latham would defeat the Democratic front runner, Congressman Bruce Braley, in the general election.
“We’re concerned about Steve King’s Todd Akin problem,” Mr. Law said. “This is an example of candidate discipline and how it would play in a general election. All of the things he’s said are going to be hung around his neck.”
Mr. King has compiled a record of incendiary statements during his time in Congress, including comparing illegal immigrants to dogs and likening Capitol Hill maintenance workers to “Stasi troops” after they were ordered to install environmentally friendly light bulbs. But he rejected the suggestion that his voting record or previous remarks would keep him from winning if he decided to run for the Senate.
King earned the support of Governor Chris Christie in his 2010 and 2012 reelection races by coming to the former U.S. Attorney’s defense during congressional hearings in 2009 that were designed by Democrats to derail Christie’s gubernatorial campaign against Jon Corzine. However, King voted against the Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill last month. Christie declined to say if he would support King in the future at a Sandy related press conference.