In red America, things may get ugly


“Hopefully, we’ll … beat the snot out of” Tea Party candidates,  Steve LaTourette, a former congressman (R- Ohio), tells Beth Reinhard in National Journal.

His new political group, Defending Main Street, wants to protect those he considers to be more mainstream Republican incumbents against Tea Party challengers in primaries next year. “We’re going to be very aggressive and we’re going to get in their faces,” LaTourette says.

The business-focused wing of the party are weighing several tactics, Reinhard writes, among them:

  • running attack ads against Tea Party candidates;
  • overthrowing Ron Paul’s libertarian acolytes dominating the Iowa and Minnesota state parties;
  • promoting open primaries over nominating conventions, which can produce Republican hard-liners such as Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli and shutdown-instigator Mike Lee of Utah’
  • and countering Heritage Action, the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks that target Republican incumbents who have consorted with Democrats.

“This conflict could be the new normal,” warns Rob Jesmer, former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “Until we have a nominee people can rally around in 2016, I think we’re going to be the wilderness for a while.”