Possibly out of fear that Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine may be right when he recently said ““The tea party movement is devouring the GOP,” and that contentious primary battles within the GOP leading up to the 2010 elections may do more harm than good, Sen. Cornyn (head of the NRSC) sought to dismiss the possible negative impacts;
Cornyn conceded that “there has been a lot of talk about whether the party is going to be divided by the tea party movement,” but he dismissed any potential negative impact the movement could have on Republican primaries.
Like Kaine, Cornyn pointed to New York’s 23rd District, where he said the lack of a primary process allowed Democrats to win the upstate district for the first time in more than 100 years. The selection of Scozzafava by local leaders to be the GOP candidate sparked outrage among conservatives distrustful of her moderate record.
“We can’t let that happen, so we have to have a robust primary so that our strongest candidate becomes our nominee,” he said.
Looking at the field, Cornyn said he was “enormously encouraged” by some of the candidates stepping forward on the Republican side. Cornyn singled out Republican Senate candidates Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, Mark Kirk in Illinois, Jane Norton in Colorado, Carly Fiorina in California and Rob Simmons in Connecticut.
When he ticked off a few of his favorite contenders, he ticked off a few conservatives as well, especially in California where there is not just one viable Republican in the running, but two.
By failing to even mention California Assemblyman Chuck DeVore and instead verbally pushing Fiorina to the top, he’s quite clearly taking sides in the primary once again.
And it’s not the only time he’s thrown NRSC weight around lately;
Last week, Cornyn and three other heavyweight GOP senators — McConnell, Grassley and Vitter — held an NRSC fundraiser for Gilbert Baker, an Arkansas state senator looking to challenge Blanche Lincoln for her senate seat. David J. Sanders, an Arkansas political columnist, notes that when all is said and done there could be a nine-way GOP senate primary in the state.
So why is the NRSC raising money for Baker? Making matters worse, Baker is not an especially conservative candidate. Like a lot of Arkansas Republicans he’s in the Huckabee mold of being socially conservative and somewhat economically liberal. Citizens First Congress, a liberal group, rated Baker as having the most liberal voting record of any Republican senator in the Arkansas legislature.
In California there is a definite proven conservative in the running for the top GOP spot to take on Boxer, and that’s DeVore.
Chuck DeVore was instrumental in his efforts as Assemblyman to stop state Democrats from running roughshod over the California Constitution when they attempted to pass an illegal tax increase in December 2008 and has been an advocate of modern nuclear power and advanced oil and gas drilling.
Carly Fiorina? Well, judge for yourself.
As to any possible concerns Sen. Cornyn may have about the tea party movement “devouring” the GOP, I would assure the Senator that it isn’t.
It’s taking it back for conservatism.