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Tea Partiers Sharron Angle, Rand Paul to Get Embrace of National GOP Leaders

4 years ago
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The two most prominent Tea Party Republicans to emerge from this year's primaries -- Nevada's Sharron Angle and Kentucky's Rand Paul -- may have upset establishment GOP candidates in their bids for Senate nominations, but they will soon be heading to the nation's capitol to receive the embrace of national Republican leaders and key conservative groups.

While some Nevada Republicans harbor misgivings about whether Angle, given some of of the positions she has previously staked out, is the strongest candidate to face Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in November, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has promised her as much organizational and financial resources as she needs, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Angle will travel to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to meet with other Republican senators, party leaders and fundraisers.

Sharron Angle, Rand PaulShe will also sit down with an array of anti-tax, anti-abortion and pro-gun rights groups on Wednesday under the auspices of the Center Right Coalition run by Grover Norquist, a conservative moment leader, the Review-Journal said. Some of these groups already had pitched in during the primary, such as the Club for Growth which said it had plowed $628,161 into Angle's campaign in the former of contributions as well as TV ads and direct mail on her behalf.

Meanwhile, as expected, Reid lost no time in trying to tie Angle to positions he says are extreme. Reid's campaign launched a TV ad Friday asserting Angle would slash Social Security and Medicare, describing Angle's support for a Church of Scientology drug rehabilitation program for prisoners that included saunas and massage therapy. (One of Angle's GOP primary opponents, Sue Lowden, had similarly targeted the prison program in her ads).

Even though Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stood with the GOP establishment candidate in his home state of Kentucky, he will now host a June 24 fundraiser in Washington for Paul hosted by the Republican Senatorial Committee, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Asked if the embrace of the GOP national establishment might hurt Paul with his supporters, University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato told the Courier-Journal, ""I think they're pretty set on him. They like him. They're going to forgive a lot because they believe that deep down in his core he's with them. They also understand he's got to do some things to patch up the rift with McConnell and the mainstream, establishment Republicans."

Back home in Kentucky, Republicans were trying to knit back together Paul's movement with the wing of the party that backed Secretary of State Trey Grayson, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

There are lingering resentments from the primary. The paper said that some Paul supporters feel the Grayson camp "drove the wedge deep" by not only challenging Paul on policy differences but trying to portray him as a candidate with fringe ideas. On the other side, some Republicans who have had a stake in party activities for years are feeling pushed aside by impatient Tea Party movement activists.

Nevertheless, McConnell, Grayson and the state party have all publicly rallied behind Paul. The Herald-Leader quoted James Weise, a district GOP chairman, saying, "The Republicans are going to lick their wounds quite quickly and move on" because the goal in their sights now is holding on to the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Jim Bunning.

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