Washington (CNN) - The head of the Republican National Committee waved off any suggestion he might not rally behind Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in his bid for reelection.
"Of course I'm going to support the leader of the Republican Party," Reince Priebus told the panel on CNN's "Crossfire" on Tuesday.
Asked by host Stephanie Cutter if he would defect from the Kentucky lawmaker’s camp, Priebus did not give any indication that abdication from the longtime establishment Republican's corner was on the table.
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Despite the flux of intraparty warfare, Priebus insisted that Republicans still have a "huge opportunity" to take back the Senate in 2014. He also tried to dispel the notion that all primary challenges are a negative.
"Our party has always had a lot of primaries," Priebus said. "
"When I came out of Wisconsin, Scott Walker was ‘primaried’ by a Congressman named Mark Neumann," the RNC chair added. "Ron Johnson was ‘primaried’ by about three other Republicans that were running. But the cream rose to the top. Scott Walker won. Ron Johnson won. And it works."
I got mad love for the Chairman, but Walker and Johnson were not primaried as sitting office holders. They were both competing for seats previously held by rats. Bevin is taking on a sitting Republican as are the other Tea Party challengers. This isn't business as usual, and no amount of spin can make this an advantagous turn for the GOPe. It will waste money and time that could be spent defeating rats.
Fortunately it appears like it will waste less money and time than it once seemed. It was only last year that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Federation of Independent Business were supporting Tea Party candidates. But not after the shutdown.
I thought it was odd that McConnell was letting Cruz take control of the Senate. I'm beginning to think maybe he was giving the Tea Party enough rope to hang themselves. It was a real eye opener to GOP business interests, but strangely almost didn't happen.
If Cruz had been able to keep a shutdown going long enough for millions of Americans to get their healthcare cancellation notices he might have succeeded in grabbing all the political capital from Obamacare's downfall adding to the Tea Party support.
If Cruz had been stopped by McConnell from the start then the Chamber and NFIB might not have turned on the Tea Party.
As it was the shutdown lasted just the right amount of time for maximum Tea Party reputation damage.