Senate Republicans to avoid intramurals


There is an ideological battle going on for the soul of the Republican Party, and its parameters were expressed fully in the just completed special election in New York’s 23rd Congressional District. On the Senate side, a similar battle is brewing in Florida and in a handful of other states. In such case, the National Republican Senatorial Committee says it will remain on the sidelines and conserve its resources.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) is chairing NRSC this time around, and has announced that the committee will not get involved in primary battles.

The conservative “tea-bagger” wing of the Republican Party rebelled against the party’s chosen candidate in NY23 and backed a conservative independent, who was narrowly defeated by the Democratic candidate.

According to Politico, conservative activists may stage similar intramural campaigns against as many as a dozen Republican candidates, including three likely making bids for the Senate.

The right-wing challenge to the candidacy of moderate Republican Gov. Charlie Crist in Florida is already under way via the campaign of conservative state legislator Mark Rubio, who has already garnered significant national conservative backing.

Politico says the candidacies of Rep. Rob Simmons in Connecticut and Rep. Mark Kirk in Illinois could also trigger a conservative challenge, and hints that there may be other races that do the same, in both Senate and House races.

Although the NY23 race received cash infusions from some of the national committees, Cornyn, according to TPMDC, will not allow his fund to be drawn into such frays.

RBR-TVBR observation: The lack of NRSC dollars does not mean that intramural political battles will lack for national cash infusions – to the contrary, there seems to be no shortage of national political action committees eager to give right up to the maximum if it’s in support for their type of candidate.

A hot primary often foreshadows an equally hot general election (unless it’s in a politically monochromatic venue like the District of Columbia, where the Democratic primary IS the general election for all intents and purposes). NRSC will be right there during the general if the Senate race is hot enough.

So lack of NRSC primary dollars will often be nothing more than a deferral until autumn of its contribution to broadcast bank accounts.