Gloves Off: GOP Establishment Goes After Tea Party

Gloves Off: GOP Establishment Goes After Tea Party

The National Republican Senate Committee, the GOP campaign arm responsible for Senate elections, has decided to use its political power to block consulting firm Jamestown Associates from receiving political work from GOP candidates or incumbents. 

Jamestown’s “sin” is working with the Senate Conservative Fund, an organization that supports conservative candidates for the US Senate. 

NRSC communications staffer Brad Dayspring, a former spokesman for House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), told The New York Times on Friday, “We’re not going to do business with people who profit off of attacking Republicans. Purity for profit is a disease that threatens the Republican Party.”

Jamestown Associates has done work with the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF), a conservative group largely responsible for the elections of Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rand Paul (R-KY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Ron Johnson (R-WI), among others. Former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who left the U.S. Senate last year to become the president of the Heritage Foundation, founded SCF.

“In a warning shot to outside conservative groups, the National Republican Senatorial Committee this week informed a prominent Republican advertising firm that it would not receive any contracts with the campaign committee because of its work with a group that targets incumbent Senate Republicans,” the Times wrote. 

“Even more striking,” the Times continued, “a senior official at the committee called individual Republican Senate campaigns and other party organizations this week and urged them not to hire the firm, Jamestown Associates, in an effort to punish them for working for the Senate Conservatives Fund, a group founded by Jim DeMint, then a South Carolina senator, that is trying to unseat Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, and some other incumbents up for re-election next year whom it finds insufficiently conservative.”

The Times notes that a large part of the reason why SCF has drawn the ire of the GOP establishment is its endorsement of McConnell’s primary challenger, businessman Matt Bevin. McConnell’s chief of staff Josh Holmes, who is now working for the NRSC through the election, told the Times that McConnell plans to beat up SCF for being conservative like he would if it were a bar fight. “S.C.F. has been wandering around the country destroying the Republican Party like a drunk who tears up every bar they walk into,” Holmes said. “The difference this cycle is that they strolled into Mitch McConnell’s bar and he doesn’t throw you out, he locks the door.”

Brian Walsh, former NRSC communications director and currently lobbyist for the bipartisan firm Singer-Bonjean, has aggressively tweeted his support for this new campaign against conservatives’ work prospects. 

“Important stand by the @NRSC – Republicans who profit off of attacking other Republicans will not get their business,” Walsh tweeted as the Times published its piece. Walsh, who works for former top Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) aide Phil Singer at Singer-Bonjean, attempted to frame the NRSC’s attack on Jamestown Associates as an effort to clean up the GOP from conservatives that he says are “professional operatives profiting off of attacking Republicans.” 

Some conservatives are pushing back at the NRSC. Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), a conservative who won his comeback election with no establishment support, has offered up his public support of Jamestown Associates.

“When some in DC stepped away from our race Jamestown Assoc. stood with us and fought,” Sanford tweeted in response to the Times article. “What a few in DC think won’t change that.”

John Drogin, the state director for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)–a conservative who also employs Jamestown Associates–similarly tweeted out support for the firm. “Jamestown is good firm, doing good work for conservatives, including @tedcruz,” Drogin tweeted.

A Republican strategist told Breitbart News he believed the NRSC action was designed to send a warning shot across the bow of other GOP consulting firms. “The NRSC action against Jamestown is designed to send a message to the other political firms. If they work with conservative challengers, [the NRSC] will block you from working with other candidates or incumbents.”