The GOP Establishment strikes back
Shape-shifting into something vaguely resembling an outsiders’ insurgency, the GOP Establishment knocked off a three-term Tea Party congressman in a primary race in Kansas yesterday. Sarah Westwood of The Examiner reports:
Rep. Tim Huelskamp lost his congressional seat Tuesday in a brutal Republican primary battle that pitted unlikely foes against each other while attracting an unusually large amount of money for a rural Kansas district.
Roger Marshall, a local obstetrician, bested the three-term congressman with the help of powerful groups both inside and outside the state, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Ending Spending political action committee.
The Chamber of Commerce backing says it all, but for the icing on the cake:
Ending Spending, founded by former TD Ameritrade CEO Joe Ricketts, is more frequently seen backing candidates linked to the GOP establishment. The PAC supported incumbent Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, for example, against a Tea Party primary challenge from another insurgent doctor, Milton Wolf, in 2014.
In a form of jiujitsu, the Establishment forces played insurgents.
In this primary, Tea Party groups and figures lined up behind an incumbent Republican while establishment-linked political organizations backed a candidate they had packaged as a conservative outsider.
The race served as a test of whether establishment institutions could succeed against a staunch Tea Partier by using the same playbook that brought such candidates to Washington in the first place.
The signpost of what lies ahead is visible. For the GOP Establishment, revenge is a dish best eaten cold.
Update. Clarice Feldman supplies some perspective:
Did he lose because the Farm Bureau and C of C supported his opponent, because he was a NeverTrumper, or because he pissed off Boehner and lost his seat on the Ag Committee? So many different analyses of this race.
Update. More on the #NeverTrump accusation for Huelskamp by Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit.