By Alex Gonzalez
Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas won GOP primary defeating tea-party challenger yesterday in what was one of the last opportunities this year for conservative insurgents to unseat a Republican incumbent.
The Republican establishment’s latest triumph over tea party activists in a Senate primary this year marked the end of primary where tea party insurgent candidate saw to revolve against the “establishment.“ But what happened yesterday in Kansas, and a month ago in Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Colorado, was a major setback for tea partiers and good for the GOP.
But that happened only because the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) played a major role in pushing back steadfastly against tea partiers. And, because primary season is over and all the “establishment” incumbents nationwide were able to defeat tea party opponents, the GOP gained some power back nationally, but this is not the case in Texas.
Texas is still a strong hold for tea party clout. Because these groups will see their influence dwindling in other states, like in the past, some activists working for these groups most likely will seek states where tea party network can still have influence with state and Congressional Republicans thanks to tea party networks and talk radio host who reside in Texas–Beck. And Texas is one of these states, if not the only state, where the tea still brews “hot” due to a strong anti-Obama sentiment.
But most of these groups are ran by “professional” grassroots operatives with lots of experience who will want to maximize their investment with legislators in Congress; and they know the tea still is brewing hot in Texas due to this strong anti-Obama sentiment. These groups will presume they can still have access to Congress through Texas – Cruz.
It is also evident that all of these groups have natural enemies in Texas like the U.S. chamber of Commerce, the Republican and Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association Of Businesses Texas, who wants an immigration reform. Moreover, most of these tea party groups will oppose any bill related to funding for infrastructure–road, water projects–in the Texas legislature.
Furthermore, this tea party opposition will also run counter to the interests of the business community who see these projects essential to keep Texas competitiveness (the Texas Model) for the coming decades.
In presidential politics, the rumor is that, if both Rick Perry and Ted Cruz enter the presidential race, Cruz is going to accuse Rick Perry’s Texas Miracle as “crony capitalism” to diminish his successful record as strong governor. For example, The Export-Import Bank, in Texas: Gov. Rick Perry strongly supports reauthorizing The Export-Import Bank, while Sen. Ted Cruz voiced vociferous opposition to it. And on Immigration, while Rick Perry has a strong record of supporting Dreamers in Texas, Cruz has become the chief Dreamer Deporter-in-chief.
So these tea party transplants seeking refuge, and political clout, may split the GOP vote in the state between ideological tea partiers Cruz supporters and the GOP business community who will support Perry. As a result, what happened on yesterday nationally is relevant for what will happen in Texas in the next two years where tea parties are going to clash with businesses and Republicans on immigration and infrastructure bills.