The Republican Party has begun an offensive push against Tea Party candidates across the country. The Tea Party has defeated more mainstream Republican Senate candidates that were backed by the party. After the upset victories of Tea Party candidates in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky and other states, Republicans have decided to resort to litigation and complaints with federal election regulators.
The first case comes out of Delaware, where moderate Congressman Mike Castle is fighting desperately to avoid a similar upset that Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski just suffered a few short weeks ago to a far-right Tea Party opponent. The Republican Party in Delaware filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, accusing Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell of illegally collaborating with the Tea Party Express. As CQ Politics is reporting it:
The complaint alleges that the O’Donnell campaign is “knowingly accepting illegal campaign contributions from the Tea Party Express PAC.” It cites two “alarming” instances:
– O’Donnell has knowingly accepted excessive contributions from the Tea Party Express that were directly solicited on behalf of the O’Donnell campaign, according to the filing.
– O’Donnell has accepted illegal excessive contributions from the Tea Party Express by engaging in a statewide coordinated communications effort in support of her campaign. This means, according to the complaint, that every advertisement that is being run by the Tea Party Express in support of Ms. O’Donnell is a violation of Federal law.
The Chairman of the Delaware Republican Party said that she “needs to immediately call upon her third party supporters to cease and desist this illegal behavior.” With the primary coming on Tuesday, there is no chance that the FEC will make a ruling in time, which makes this complaint quite odd. If O’Donnell wins the nomination and the FEC finds wrongdoing, sanctions against her campaign would undercut her ability to win a general election campaign. Tea Party voters could easily see this as Republican Party leaders bullying their candidate (Sarah Palin endorsed O’Donnell on Friday). The fact that such an unusual complaint would be filed just a few days before the primary suggests that Republicans are extremely worried about Castle’s prospects on Tuesday.
The second complaint comes out of Colorado, where the Republican Party is attempting to prevent bomb-throwing former Congressman Tom Tancredo from appearing on November’s ballot for governor. Tancredo decided to run after the Republican nominee, Dan Maes, refused to drop out. The deadline for dropping out was today, leaving no chance for a new nominee. With all of this in-fighting going on, Republicans may be the worst enemy of Republicans right now.