Viguerie Predicts 'Absolute' Bloodbath in 2014 GOP Primaries
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 07:15 PM
By: David A. Patten
Movement-conservative icon, author, and direct-market pioneer Richard Viguerie threw down the gauntlet to establishment Republicans and the GOP leadership Tuesday, charging that conservatives "have been betrayed, abandoned by our leaders, and that includes Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, [and] Reince Priebus at the Republican National Committee."
Viguerie and other grass-roots conservative leaders are warning that Republicans who voted to end the shutdown on terms favorable to President Barack Obama and the Democrats will face major primary opposition in 2014.
"It's a civil war in the GOP," Viguerie declared Saturday in The New York Times.
Asked in an exclusive Newsmax interview Tuesday whether Republicans who went along with ending the shutdown will face a political bloodbath, Viguerie replied: "Oh, absolutely. It's a war that's been going on for 101 years, but limited-government conservatives have not been fully engaged. But now they are engaged."
Viguerie had no hesitation in naming who will be challenged, either.
"We need to primary every single one of these big-government Republicans," he said, "including Lamar Alexander, Mitch McConnell, [and] Thad Cochran down in Mississippi is being challenged.
"I hope John Cornyn in Texas is primaried," he said, "and of course John Boehner is going to be primaried. I predict Eric Cantor will receive . . . [a] limited-government, constitutional-conservative challenge, [and] maybe [House Majority Whip] Kevin McCarthy, a key person there, [and] Pete Sessions from Texas."
Thanks to the shutdown vote, Viguerie said, "it's black and white who's on our side and who's on the big-government side."
The ConservativeHQ.com founder's blistering broadside reflects the growing backlash on the right over how the shutdown ended.
On Monday, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay told radio talk host Steve Malzberg:
"You now have 87 members of the House and 37 members of the Senate that you know caved in. And the first thing I would be doing is, in every one of their districts, in every one of their states, I would activate the political activists in those districts and states to let those people know that they need to stand strong and they need to represent their constituents."
The Club for Growth, the Senate Conservatives Fund, and the Madison Project are among the organizations pledging to support grass-roots candidates willing to toss their hats into the ring against establishment, incumbent Republicans.
On Monday, Club for Growth President Chris Chocola told Newsmax he prefers the word "transition" over "civil war" to describe the current state of the Republican Party.
"We're in a transition," said Chocola, a former congressman from Indiana. "You have people who are creating some chaos because they think that Republicans ought to stand for what Republicans say they're for, and they're willing to fight for that, and that it is better to fight and lose a battle but continue with the war."
Viguerie left little doubt that movement conservatives intend to prevail over more pragmatic Republicans, telling Newsmax:
"I'm very, very encouraged now because with the arrival of Obama and the tea party, conservatives at the grassroots level are engaged. They see the problem out there, and it's entirely possible within the next three or four years conservatives can take over the Republican Party and govern America."
Viguerie predicted the president's healthcare reforms will be the central issue in the 2014 elections, adding, "It's going to propel a lot of conservatives to election victories."
He said Democrats will soon begin to exert "enormous pressure" on Obama to delay Obamacare until after the 2014 election. But he doubts they'll be successful.
"The Democrats realize now that what looked like a big victory a week or so ago may turn into ashes in their mouth," he said.
Viguerie is a strong supporter of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's gubernatorial race against former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe.
Cuccinelli is a favorite of movement conservatives owing to his staunch opposition to the president's healthcare reforms. But polls show McAuliffe is leading the race by nearly 8 points.
For Cuccinelli to win, Viguerie said, he will need to take his campaign back from his consultants and focus his message on a few key issues, such as Obamacare and the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Making the election a referendum on those two issues, he said, would give the Cuccinelli campaign a big boost.
Viguerie advised other GOP candidates to follow a similar course in 2014.
"Republicans will have a big victory as long as we don't have those Republican consultants pushing forward moderate, big-government-type policies. People will reject that," he said.