In yesterday’s Illinois primary, the Tea Party-backed Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL) lost to the younger, flashier Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) by a margin of 56 to 44 percent. Because the district has no Democrat running, Kinzinger will by default return to Congress, while Manzullo will go home.
Their records are quite different: Kinzinger received a low 63 percent score from the Heritage Action for America group. He voted against ending taxpayer bailouts for Fannie and Freddie; he voted against removing transportation spending from the feds and handing it back to the states; he voted against opposition to a basic debt limit increase; he voted against killing green energy tax subsidies; he voted against reducing Congressional spending on entitlements repeatedly. Manzullo, by contrast, scored 83 percent from Heritage Action for America. Kinzinger received heavy support from House Majority Whip Eric Cantor; Manzullo received heavy support from Tea Party-affiliated groups like FreedomWorks.
The result of this race underscores a major problem for the Tea Party: they seem to be coming up short more often in clashes with the leadership of the Republican Party. That’s because all too often, the GOP establishment is concerned less with principle than with what they consider to be long-term sustainability, which they identify with moderate politics. The Tea Party will certainly have to redouble its efforts in light of their loss in Illinois.