The Republican establishment gloated after three underfunded Tea Party challengers failed to knock off incumbent Republicans in primaries on Tuesday while another establishment-backed candidate secured the GOP nomination for Senate in North Carolina.
“Next up is that fraud @MattBevin! #GOP,” tweeted Jahan Wilcox, a former aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who is now the RNC’s director of rapid response. (He later deleted it and said his thoughts were his “personal opinions.”)
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) defeated her primary challenger Frank Roche despite a series of high-profile outbursts in support of amnesty. Ellmers was heavily backed by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us group.
“Folks should be talking more about Ellmers,” tweeted Becky Tallent, a senior aide to Speaker John Boehner who formerly served as one of Sen. John McCain’s top amnesty lieutenants.
Boehner (R-OH) unsurprisingly coasted to victory against challenger J.D Winteregg. In response, Ana Navarro, the Jeb Bush ally, promptly tweeted,”
Ohio freshman Rep. David Joyce defeated Matt Lynch, who was endorsed by FreedomWorks and Ron Paul, which prompted Brian Walsh, the former NRSC director of communications who still advises the group, to tweet, “BOOM.”
In the night’s main event, Tillis avoided what would have been a costly runoff to win the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate by securing more than 40% of the vote. He will take on vulnerable incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) in the fall. Tillis defeated Greg Brannon — who was backed by FreedomWorks, Rand Paul, the Senate Conservatives Fund, and nearly every local Tea Party group — and Mark Harris — who received the support of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Meanwhile, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, the Chamber of Commerce, and American Crossroads backed Tillis for the win.
NRSC Chairman Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) congratulated Tillis and said he is “a strong contrast with Kay Hagan who, beyond ObamaCare and being a rubber stamp for Barack Obama, has little to show for her time in Washington.”
Rand Paul immediately congratulated Tillis on his Facebook page and said he looks “forward to working with him in the Senate.”
“I congratulate my friend Greg Brannon on a well fought race and encourage all the candidates to unite for victory in November,” Paul said, in a statement with a notably conciliatory tone.