New super PAC formed to help influence Republican primaries
February 3rd, 2013
01:07 PM ET
10 years ago

New super PAC formed to help influence Republican primaries

Washington (CNN) - The organizers of American Crossroads have formed a new super PAC called the "Conservative Victory Project," aiming to make sure Republican congressional primary victors can also win the general election.

As he does with other Crossroads groups, former Bush political adviser Karl Rove will advise this new organization, which will be led by Steven Law, the president of both American Crossroads and its advocacy sister Crossroads GPS.

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The group wants to institutionalize the rule of former conservative activist William F. Buckley and to nominate "the most conservative candidate in the primary who can win the general election," according to Victory Project spokesman Jonathan Collegio.

"Our party has lost at least six Senate races in the last two election cycles not because of conservative ideas but because of undisciplined candidates and subpar campaigns," Collegio told CNN.

"We want to elect conservative candidates to the House and Senate," he added. "But we have to win general elections."

There was widespread dismay from some within the party after losses in the general election in 2010 by Sharron Angle in Nevada and last year by Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana - all of whom were initially favored and strongly supported by tea party activists. They won primaries against candidates who experts thought had a better chance of capturing the general election. Their losses were at least partly blamed on comments they made that seemed out of the mainstream.

The formation of the Victory Project is being met with scorn from some conservative activists.

Upon news of the organization's formation, Tea Party Patriots national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin tweeted: "TPPatriots want to save USA. Karl Rove wants to line pockets-Don't Tread on Us! Tea Party bites back-never gives up!"

"The Conservative Defeat Project is yet another example of the Republican establishment's hostility towards its conservative base," Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund group, said in a statement Sunday. "Rather than listening to the grassroots and working to advance their principles, the establishment has chosen to declare war on its party's most loyal supporters."

SCF, which works to push conservative candidates, backed Ted Cruz, Deb Fischer and Jeff flake in their successful Senate races last year.

The Crossroads groups did not have a great success rate, themselves, in 2012, as most of their favored Senate candidates ended up losing.

Some conservatives point out that not only did Akin and Mourdock lose last year but so did more mainstream candidates such as Rep. Denny Rehberg of Montana, Rep. Rick Berg of North Dakota and former Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico.

Project organizers have already started reaching out to their financial backers, some of whom were uneasy about getting involved in intraparty fights. That is why this new group was formed separately.

"Some donors are concerned about primaries where many are concerned exclusively about the general election," Collegio said.

The group, which will disclose its donors, will make its decisions on whom to back based on research about candidates' positions, their fundraising power and their ability to organize and run an effective campaign. It will not recruit candidates nor coordinate with party leaders.

One race it could get involved is in West Virginia, where Rep. Shelley Moore Capito had already announced her decision to run for the Senate even before incumbent Sen. Jay Rockefeller announced he was going to retire. Capito, who is in her 7th term, is viewed as a formidable candidate with a strong fundraising base.

However several conservative groups, including the Senate Conservatives Fund, already have come out against her, calling her record "liberal" and saying she supported too much government spending.

- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston contributed to this story.

Filed under: Fundraising • Karl Rove • Republicans • Senate
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. Al-NY,NY

    the circular firing squad lines up.......FIRE!!! Keep it up GOP. Keep listening to this shady huckster and you will continue to be the minority party.

    February 4, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  2. v_mag

    I didn't read the article. I don't care one bit about KKKarl Rove. I just think it's funny that his PAC is called "American Crossdressers". That is the name, right?

    February 4, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  3. Jeb

    Anyone who gives this man money is a fool.

    February 4, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  4. Dr Matrix

    Rove doesn't endose conservative values, he is a Neo-Con. Conservatives that were intelligent, like Buckley and Goldwater, and brought that to the discussion would have nothing to do with these people. As a liberal leaning centrist I want real conservatives contributing to the discussion. There is no right and wrong, both sides have many valid points. Don't we already have enough of the Bush/Rove/Cheney footprint and the you're with us or against us all over our history?

    February 4, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  5. Anonymous

    In my opinion Karl Rove belongs in jail.

    February 4, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  6. ironman59

    The gop doesn't get it that this country doesn't want their "conservative" values. Simple fact is they trot out a bunch of ultra-conservative candidates boarding on the same "white power" ideals of the hitler. Then, an even smaller minority votes in the primaries. They think because they picked someone with such a small, fringe lunatic base that the rest of the country is going to accept them. This country wants to move forward, not backwards. The gop screams about "good old days" except when it comes to taxes. They want decreased spending except the military, political campaigns and corporate welfar. Their "trickle on" economics haven't worked in 60 years yet they keep pushing it on us.

    The point is that if their ideas, especially that "lower taxes create jobs" worked, we would have ful; employment at this point. The problem is lower taxes on the wealth & business just means more offshore investing in hidden accounts. None of the record low tax rates has generated any new jobs in the corporate sector.

    In my view let them keep up their nonsense. They can keep dishing out "rap-e fixes itself" candidates and keep losing. We will be a better country with each of their losses.

    February 4, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  7. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    "We lost the election because we did not put forward conservative enough candidates." As long as they keep using that mantra, the influence of the Republican party will continue to shrink until they become completely inconsequential. They have already marginalized themselves, and now they are continuing down that road as did the "Know-Nothing" and Whig parties.

    February 4, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  8. kevin

    This should be fun! Rove taking on the baggers.

    February 4, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  9. Texhimself

    He is padding his own nest and will be worth many millions fleecing the sheep.

    February 4, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  10. skitownrefugee

    "Our party has lost at least six Senate races in the last two election cycles not because of conservative ideas but because of undisciplined candidates and subpar campaigns," Collegio told CNN.

    Think again – then again – then again – and you "conservatives" still won't get it. America is moving to the left and you're moving to the right and the gap in what you pretend to beleive and what most Americans beleive gorws from a gap into a ever widening gulf. Carl will waste more billions on these candidates with the same results – and these guys call themselves "Fiscal Conservatives" – I don't see that they are the way they throw money around – they just want POWER!.

    February 4, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  11. rs

    The Republican Party isn't "conservative" and hasn't been since at least Nixon. Think about it:
    Which party hammered home Civil Rights?
    Which Party first celebrated Earth Day and Created the EPA?
    Which Party oversaw the desegregation of schools in the South?
    Which Party kept the wall between church and government up until 1980?
    Which party could be counted on for reasoned public policy and fiscal restraint?

    Yes, the Republican Party. The party today that holds:

    Taliban-like values on women
    Is against equal rights
    Is anti-worker, anti immigrant (illegal or otherwise)
    Finds public education inconvenient and hates science and teachers
    Wants war- lots of it- especially in very dangerous places like Iran, N. Korea and Syria
    Prefers "Cut Tax and Spend" economics

    They have long ago lost their way, and aren't bright enough to see or see they aren't "conservative" at all.

    February 4, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    You know, influencing Republican primaries has been the problem. They've been too heavy handed and too extreme. It seems like this new group is simply going to double down on "stupid party" to me.

    February 4, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. PC

    Yeah, hire the guy who kept insisting on election night that "...Ohio is still in play for Romney..". Watching the GOP and its leaders constantly shoot themselves in the foot is pretty entertaining.

    February 4, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  14. Dave Nelson

    Another crook making money!!!1

    February 4, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  15. Dave Nelson

    Another Crook makes money! He belongs in Jail!!!

    February 4, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  16. Todd W

    They should start now given the debacle of before. Whatever makes looking for Bigfoot...get paid well and no one ever expects and actual result!

    February 4, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  17. Hogan's Goat

    The GOP is at a crossroads, and you know that's where you sell your soul. Either they embrace the crazy and begin wearing the Birther/Truther/Prepper hat out in public, or they reject these people and try to go forward as a small party of relatively-sane grownups. Either way, they become a niche party and never rise above Governor again.
    Sarah Palin was their wake-up call at three a.m. and they didn't get up in time to prevent Cain and Perry and Bachmann.

    February 4, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  18. GOP = Greed Over People

    By all means, give this media pimp anther one billion of the neo-con and bagger bucks.

    It worked so well in 2012, why spoil such a winning streak?

    February 4, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  19. Randy, San Fancisco

    Rove may find the large amounts of money raised for establishment type candidates will not sway conservative right wing extremists and Tea Party insurgents. He will find a fierce pushback from these groups. The intra-party infighting will not be pretty.

    February 4, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  20. Larry L

    It's quite unusual to see 37 responses with 100% of the people in agreement. Normally we'd have a couple of mindless, unrelated, unsubstantiated comments about socialism, guns, gays, etc. Maybe the Fox News drones had a big Super Bowl party last night.

    February 4, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  21. steve harnack

    Lets find the authors of the legislation that allows these shysters to form these tax exempt "charities" and introduce them to some tar and feathers, then get busy repealing this fraud.

    February 4, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  22. yanni

    Baggers it is time to refill your coffers it was emptied out buy Carl and the other Milliners and Billionaires during last election. Let them make a living out of your heat.

    February 4, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  23. DavidInReston

    This is just a "job" to make someone who failed at math feel better.

    February 4, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  24. yanni

    Baggers it is time to refill your coffers it was emptied out buy Carl and the other Milliners and Billionaires during last election. Let them make a living out of your hate

    February 4, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  25. nate

    Once a pimp, always a pimp.

    February 4, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
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