After 2014 losses, conservative activists chart a new strategy.
It was a miserable year for the tea party, with its highest-profile candidates all losing to establishment-backed incumbents. In Kansas, Milton Wolf, a doctor and distant relative of President Barack Obama, was roiled by a professional scandal and lost to Roberts. In Mississippi, conservative challenger Chris McDaniel bested Republican Sen. Thad Cochran on primary day but fell short in a runoff that still has the right crying foul. In Kentucky, Matt Bevin was crushed by McConnell despite tea party support for the challenge. Alexander, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Texas Sen. John Cornyn also survived feeble tea party-backed challenges.
“I think strategically we’ll have to be a little bit smarter,” said Drew Ryun, political director of the Madison Project, a conservative political action committee. “I think there’s going to maybe have to be a narrowed focus, maybe not spreading the field as we did this election cycle.”