The back and forth between establishment and Tea Party Republicans has taken another swing as Ben Sasse won his primary for the US Senate in Nebraska and former Maryland GOP Chairman Alex Mooney won nomination for West Virginia’s 2nd district. Some are promoting the victories as proof of momentum within the conservative movement over the establishment.
The Midland University President, Sasse won convincingly against former State Treasurer Shane Osborn and businessman Sid Dinsdale in the Nebraska Republican Senate primary.
Sasse received the backing of top national conservatives like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, as well as powerful groups like the Club For Growth, focused his campaign message on repealing Obamacare and restoring the constitutional vision of the Founding Fathers.
“Ben Sasse won this race because he never stopped fighting for conservative principles,” said Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, which spent $1.1 million on the race including coordinated contributions. “Ben Sasse will lead the fight to repeal Obamacare and enact reforms that give patients greater control over their own health care decisions. He will fight to stop wasteful taxpayer spending and balance the budget,” Hoskins added.
“Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Lee? They’ve got reinforcements coming in January,” said Jenny Beth Martin, the president of the Tea Party Patriots.
In his victory speech, however, Sasse sought to downplay the narrative of the race as a victory in a intra-Republican civil war, saying the Nebraskan voters he encountered on the campaign trail didn’t care about that.
Outside groups and the candidates have spent millions on the race in which the GOP winner is widely expected to prevail in November. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the party’s campaign operation, remained neutral.
The Tea Party movement has struggled in earlier contests, with their favored candidates losing to establishment favorites in Texas, North Carolina and Ohio.
Looking ahead to upcoming primaries, the Tea Party’s chances to upset incumbents have been diminishing in Kentucky, Kansas, Idaho and Mississippi.
Senate Conservatives Fund, Madison Project and Citizens United all also supported former Maryland GOP Chairman Alex Mooney’s nomination for West Virginia’s 2nd district as a product of the conservative movement triumphing over the establishment.
SCF spent $90,000 to boost Mooney in the seven-way primary to replace Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who is running for Senate, and $1.1 million on Sasse’s candidacy in the four-way Nebraska primary.
SCF’s executive director, Matt Hoskins, touted Mooney’s win as an underdog emerging victorious, and declared that Sasse “will lead the fight to repeal ObamaCare” in the Senate.
Tulsa Today covered Ben Sasse in November 2013 after he produced a video outlining how President Obama has violated the Constitution.