The Conversation

2016 GOP Hopefuls Fear Tea Party Wrath

While many moderate Republican talking heads continue to push the narrative that the Tea Party is dead and buried, it simply isn't supported by events on the ground. The New York Times recently credited the conservative wing of the GOP for stopping Obama's planned amnesty for illegals.

Today, Roll Call reports that when it comes to Scott Brown in New Hampshire, "the GOP’s 2016 prospects are so far staying away from that Senate race for fear of upsetting prickly Republican activists by endorsing Brown, who was a more moderate Republican in the Senate and supports abortion rights."

If the Tea Party and conservative grass roots GOP base were as irrelevant as some would have you believe, Brown's moderate voting record on social, financial and even Second Amendment issues shouldn't matter. Clearly, it does.

“I think you’ll see the hot presidential contenders stay away until the primary is over. It’s just safer,” said Charlie Arlinghaus, a veteran New Hampshire Republican operative.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry will travel to New Hampshire Aug. 22 and 23, but he has no plans to appear to with Brown or any other Republican Senate candidate. Perry endorsed a candidate in the contested Iowa GOP Senate primary.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., declared himself “a strong supporter of Scott Brown” in a radio interview in early May, but he also cautioned twice, “we haven’t done anything formal yet.” Rubio endorsed three other GOP Senate candidates before their respective primaries in Iowa, Arkansas and Colorado.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie traveled to New Hampshire two weeks ago. The RGA Chairman endorsed a Republican candidate for governor but did not comment on the Senate race. Christie has not gotten involved in any Senate races this cycle.

That could be a smart move for the candidates. Brown is the favorite to win, but, Arlinghaus said, he “has a real issue with conservatives” owing to his moderate positions and voting record.


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