WASHINGTON— Twice burned, Republicans are treading carefully around tea party groups as they pursue a Senate majority that slipped through their fingers in 2010 and 2012.
“You’d have to be an idiot not to prepare” for primary election challenges from the right, no matter the state, says Rob Jesmer, who was executive director of the GOP Senate campaign committee when flawed, conservative candidates captured primaries, only to lose winnable races in the fall.
While incumbents work to ward off or repel challenges from within their party, a Republican tempest already is flaring in Georgia, where GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss is stepping down. Party officials also look apprehensively toward Iowa, where Sen. Tom Harkin’s decision to retire down opens up a seat long in Democratic hands.
The developments come at a time the Republican Party nationally is involved in a well-chronicled period of introspection after failing to win the White House last fall. President Barack Obama’s support reached 53 percent among women who cast ballots, 60 percent among voters under 30, some 71 percent among Hispanics and 93 percent among blacks. Numerous officials have said the party must find a way to broaden its appeal rather than continue to steer rightward.
Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for Republicans, said consternation about a replay of recent politically damaging primaries “at least for the moment, doesn’t seem to be an issue” for the GOP. Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas, who chairs the campaign committee, declined a request for an interview.
Read More at OfficialWire . By David Espo.
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