After “fiscal cliff,” U.S. conservatives eye Republican primaries

by
January 3, 2013

MItch McConnell
CHICAGO | The U.S. Congress prevented hefty tax hikes and spending cuts with a “fiscal cliff” deal this week, but grassroots conservatives are already seeking 2014 primary challengers for high-profile Republican lawmakers who backed the deal.

Few challengers have yet come forward. But fiscally conservative activists irate at Republicans who voted to raise some taxes without cutting spending are casting about for opponents to Republicans including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and senators Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.

“Many people here have watched Mitch McConnell’s voting record and are dissatisfied with what they’ve seen,” said Eric Wilson, executive director of the Kentucky 9/12 project, a Tea Party group in McConnell’s home state. “There are some potential candidates working in the background and doing the right thing” including visiting Kentucky’s conservatives to gauge support.

Wilson declined to divulge names, citing McConnell’s fundraising prowess that allowed him to amass almost $19 million for his 2008 re-election bid. McConnell could not be reach for comment.

“Anyone who sticks their neck out now will get their head cut off,” he added. “But there are definitely people here with real potential.”

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