A big split in the Republican party? Karl Rove's new super PAC, the Conservative Victory Project, appears to be taking aim at Tea Partiers. The Victory Project, led by the same people who run American Crossroads, has the official aim of nominating "the most conservative candidate in the primary who can win the general election," a spokesperson tells CNN. That will almost certainly mean butting heads with the Tea Party, which has backed several ultra-conservative candidates in recent primaries who went on to be crushed in the general election. (Think Sharron Angle, Todd Akin, and Richard Mourdock.) And some conservatives are not amused:
- The executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund calls Rove's new super PAC "the Conservative Defeat Project."
- A tweet from the Tea Party Patriots national coordinator: "TPPatriots want to save USA. Karl Rove wants to line pockets-Don't Tread on Us! Tea Party bites back-never gives up!"
- On RedState.com, Erick Erickson accuses the Victory Project of wanting to "crush conservatives, destroy the Tea Party, and put a bunch of squishes in Republican leadership positions."
- "They are welcome to support the likes of Arlen Specter, Charlie Crist, and David Dewhurst," says a Club for Growth spokesperson, according to Politico. "We will continue to proudly support the likes of Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz."
But the New York Times
reports that some of the biggest donors in the party are backing the Victory Project with the hope of taking control of the Senate next year. Says American Crossroads' president, "There is a broad concern about having blown a significant number of races because the wrong candidates were selected."