Speaking of unity and the Republican Party ....
Tea party favorite Mike Lee roiled the GOP establishment four years ago when he knocked off a sitting senator on his way to the Republican Senate nomination in Utah.
Now, the establishment might strike back.
As the 43-year-old Lee plots his 2016 reelection bid, he is courting business leaders under the radar, hoping to head off a primary challenge backed by business leaders and other establishment figures in his home state, like billionaire Jon Huntsman Sr., an influential bank CEO and a former Utah GOP party chairman.
Some powerful establishment Republicans in Utah are tired of Lee’s hard-line positions. He stood with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas last year when the federal government closed and again this month when they tried to take on President Barack Obama on immigration but ended up giving Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada leverage to confirm controversial nominations.
So as Lee fights to make sure he doesn’t become the first tea party senator ousted by the party establishment, he’s effectively turned the Republican intraparty war that has defined Senate primary politics for the past four years on its head.
Is there a way we can blame this on Ben Carson?
It’s hard to say what voters will do if given the choice again, but we must also recall that between whatever passed for the Republican version of sanity and responsible decency and, well, Sen. Mike Lee, voters in Utah went with the latter. Well, okay, let us be clear: His predecessor, Sen. Bob Bennett, was a conservative stalwart who just wasn’t conservative enough to not be drummed out by his own state’s Republican Party.
We’ll have to see what comes of any attempt to inject sanity in to Utah politics; all previous efforts seem to have failed, so it is fair if one holds low expectations.
Still, though, we can pretend it’s unity if we want to blame Ben Carson for wrecking it, right?
Raju, Manu. “Tea partier braces for primary challenge from the establishment”. Politico. 22 December 2014.