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GOP hoping for Senate gains tread carefully around tea party

- The Washington Times - Friday, February 22, 2013

Republicans hoping to capture a majority in the Senate are casting wary eyes on the tea party, well aware of 2010 and 2012 races that opened the flood gates to candidates outside the GOP ticket.

"You'd have to be an idiot not to prepare" for primary challenges from tea party candidates, said Rob Jesmer, the past executive director of the GOP Senate campaign committee who experienced first-hand the surprise election of several tea party candidates, in an Associated Press report.

Races to watch: Georgia, where Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss has announced he is stepping down, AP reports. And Iowa, where the door has opened to a strong challenge for Sen. Tom Harkin’s Democratic seat, AP said.

Against this backdrop has come a public dispute between Karl Rove and the tea party, whose members see the Republican strategist as the epitome of all that's gone wrong with the GOP in recent years.

"The Republican establishment is becoming increasingly hostile to the conservative movement," said Matt Hoskins, head of the Senate Conservatives Fund, an organization founded by former S.C. Sen. Jim DeMint, according to AP.

 

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