Inside the Beltway: Community organizing, conservative style

Tea party organizers are intent on repeating the 2010 midterm elections, when heartland candidates swept through a number of important races, proof that grassroots folks were alive, kicking and politically engaged. Evidence of such this year: here comes the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund SuperPAC, launched Monday to focus on key Senate races in the 2014 midterms, plus the care and training of those voters who could make the difference.

“Unlike other Super PACs that drop in negative ads from their perches in Washington to trash opponents, we will empower the people to have the most impact in targeted districts and states,” says Jenny Beth Martin, president of the new outreach, and a co-founder of the parent group, which represents some 3,000 local tea party groups.


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They are definitely unhappy with some lawmakers.

“We are currently huddling with activists on the ground in South Carolina looking for an alternative to Sen. Lindsey Graham, and in Kentucky, where many have lost faith in the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell,” Mrs. Martin says, noting the organization soon intends to expand its mission into Mississippi, Nebraska, Louisiana, Arkansas and North Carolina races.

“Think of the Citizens Fund really as community organizing for conservatives,” she adds. “What makes us different is simple: We’re the only super PAC with tens of thousands of grassroots activists across the country, and we will make sure they get what they need to elect conservatives and hold elected officials accountable.”

They have also seen fit to crank up an early-bird presidential straw poll, the candidates reflecting the interests of the membership. “We need to show the D.C. establishment politicians that we, the people, will rally behind only the most pro-Constitution, pro-free market, fiscally responsible candidates in America, and all others need not apply,” the organization advises its following.

The choices: Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and — yes — Sarah Palin.

GRASSROOTS GROWING

There are some interesting dynamics afoot in the aforementioned Bluegrass State, meanwhile.

“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell runs dead even with Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes in a first look at the 2014 U.S. Senate race in Kentucky. But McConnell’s GOP primary rival Matt Bevin leads Grimes by six points,” reports pollster Scott Rasmussen, referring to a survey of 500 likely Kentucky voters conducted Jan. 29-30 and released Monday.

Mr. Bevin leads Ms. Grimes 48 percent to 42 percent.

“The results of this poll are clear. Matt Bevin has a stronger chance at defeating the Democrat in the general election. Anybody interested in protecting this Republican Senate seat needs to revisit the premise that a do-nothing incumbent is a safe bet. To beat Grimes in November, we have to ditch Mitch,” declares Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks for America — a liberty-minded, low-tax group where the motto is “support grassroots candidates”

THE SHIFTING CHRISTIE TRADEWINDS

The decision by American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas to invite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference in a mere 30 days is a whoosh of balmy fresh air for a public official beleaguered by a traffic controversy.

Already, some stale coverage is getting reinvigorated with a few newly cast headlines. Translation: the mainstream media has noticed that the public condemnation of Mr. Christie is not necessarily an instant process. A few samples:

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