Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), an ally of Speaker John Boehner, cruised to re-election on Tuesday in what originally was a contested primary against conservative attorney Bryan Smith. Simpson and his big business allies spent big bucks to stomp out Smith, too.
With 23 precincts reporting, the Associated Press called it for Simpson. Simpson bested Smith 63 percent to 37 percent.
Smith originally had the backing of the conservative Club For Growth, which spent $450,000 on his race but then backed down about a month ago. He raised about $780,000 on his own, too.
Simpson, on the other hand, raised $1.9 million of his money then has had the help of $2 million of outside business-backed groups to help him out. The at least $2 million–perhaps an amount approaching $3 million once all expenditures are in–came from groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the labor union-backed GOP establishment groups that former Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH) created.
LaTourette has promised he will “crush” the Tea Party and this race–fighting for Simpson’s re-election–is one race where he spent big.
In an interview last summer, Smith told Breitbart News he was running against Simpson to try shake up “business as usual” of the political establishment in Washington.
“They recognize that Congressman Simpson is very at home in Washington, D.C., and not as comfortable in his district,” Smith said then.
Though he didn’t win on Tuesday, Smith gave Simpson and the establishment enough of a scare to make them spend big–and force Simpson’s hand into making a few mistakes on the way to election day. Simpson publicly backed a return of earmarks on the campaign trail, something that GOP establishment figures–like Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)–have signaled they may like to do in the near future.