The political director of a prominent Tea Party Super PAC predicts that “big punches” will be thrown within the GOP as groups like his gear up for primary challenges in the 2014 midterm elections against Republicans whom they view as not conservative enough.
“I think the 2014 primary cycle is going to be unlike anything that we've seen,” said the Madison Project’s Drew Ryun. “This is going to be the equivalent of a bar room brawl.”
The Republican establishment, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is going head-to-head with the Madison Project in several of the races where the Super PAC is working to replace the incumbent. But Ryun told “Top Line” they were ready for the fight.
“I think it's going to come down to a battle of tactics,” Ryun said. “They're going to have more money; we're going to have more people. And, basically, who employs the best tactics is going to come out on top of these primaries.”
Ryun acknowledged that the Tea Party had fallen short in the past in choosing “viable candidates.” It’s for this reason, he said, that the Madison Project was selective in choosing which candidates to back and pointed to the their support of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as one example.
“Ted Cruz being a great example for us in the 2012 cycle where there's a five-way primary in that Texas primary race. We had the opportunity to meet with him, in a sense clarify for the Republican movement. This is our guy; he went on to win,” Ryun said.
The Madison Project is now considering getting involved in another Texas Senate race in 2014, following the announcement earlier this week that Texas Rep. Steve Stockman would challenge incumbent Republican Sen. John Cornyn.
Now that a bipartisan budget deal has been reached on Capitol Hill, Ryun said it would be a mistake for Republicans to negotiate away leverage over government spending levels in future fights.
“We are actually making the argument of hey, there's never been another time,” he said. “The dynamics have changed since September when Ted Cruz stood up and made the case against Obamacare. We've now seen the debacle of a roll-out. Millions of Americans kicked off. We've seen insurance costs go up.”
The cost of not fighting, Ryun said, makes the case for the Madison Project’s greater vision to “remake the Republican Party.”
“If you guys as Republicans are not going to fight when the stage is set, then it's time for us as Republicans to go back and gradually begin remaking the party,” he said.
For more of the interview with Ryun, including his explanation for why his group is backing the primary challenger to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, check out this episode of “Top Line.”
ABC News’ Betsy Klein, Alexandra Dukakis, Danny O’Shea, and John Knott contributed to this episode.
- Madison Project
- Ted Cruz