The New York Times followed up this weekend on a new Republican organization sprouting out of Karl Rove’s American Crossroads Super PAC, the Conservative Victory Project, which seeks to defend establishment Republican Senate candidates from Tea Party challengers and new conservative groups that have helped bankroll their campaigns. The group’s aim is to make sure challengers such as Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock don’t win primary battles, allowing the “most electable” Republicans to make it into the general election.
Though the story focuses on extreme right-wing Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who might jump into Iowa’s Senate race next year, one has to wonder if the Conservative Victory Project will jump into Kentucky next year once a Tea Party challenger enters the 2014 Senate race from Mitch McConnell’s right — which could be any day now.
Kentucky Tea Party leader David Adams, who is currently recruiting such a challenger to McConnell, tells LEO that he expects the Rovian group to do just that.
“Yes, I expect Karl Rove would spend big money in an establishment versus conservative primary in Kentucky in 2014,” Adams says. “It’s the only angle establishment moderates have left, so I would expect it to help some from their perspective, but the downside could also be considerable.”
That downside being the label of “establishment GOP” attaching itself to McConnell, which isn’t necessarily a good thing among the Republican base these days in primary battles.
In an interview last week about the challenger that he is recruiting, Adams says it is a male who is “likely someone you’ve never heard of.”
“It’s at least someone who’s not really on the radar screen, which is not by design, but it’s also not a detriment, I think,” Adams says.
Asked if the candidate is a wealthy self-funder, Adams says it is not likely that he’ll put in $1 million of his own money, but he should be able to raise a good amount of money both at home and from around the country.
“That depends on your definition of wealthy,” Adams says. “I don’t think ($1 million) is in the cards, but it’s clearly someone who travels in circles where raising money personally to get started shouldn’t be much of a challenge. I’m hearing from people literally all over the country who are taking an interest in the race and are even willing to talk about committing funds, then seeing who the challenger is after.”
The libertarian Liberty For All Super PAC, which helped bankroll Rep. Thomas Massie to an upset victory last year in Kentucky’s 4th District Republican primary, has already expressed interest in assisting a challenger to McConnell.
Adams says the challenger may announce soon and doesn’t anticipate the wait being much longer than a month.
Until then, McConnell (and Rove) will be anxiously waiting to slap down the Tea Party grassroots, whoever that candidate may be.