Mike Lee

KY Senate: Rand Paul opens up a 15 point lead

We interupt your Labor Day weekend to bring you a new poll out of Kentucky in the United States Senate race between Jack Conway (D) and Rand Paul (R).

Here are the results from the Survey USA poll:

  • Paul: 55%
  • Conway: 40%
  • Undecided: 5%

The poll shows Rand Paul, son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and one of five tea party candidates that will appear on the ballot for United States Senate in November, taking 32% of self-identified Democrats and 56% of independent voters.

Other tea party candidates appearing on the ballot in November are Sharron Angle (NV), Ken Buck (CO), Mike Lee (UT) and Joe Miller (AK).

UT Senate: Mike Lee holds huge lead

This is no surprise. Utah is a solidly Republican state, emphasized by this survey from Rasmussen showing Mike Lee, a tea party backed candidate who defeated Sen. Bob Bennett in the GOP primary, leading Sam Granato by 25 points.

Here are the numbers:

  • Lee: 54%
  • Granato: 29%
  • Other: 5%
  • Not sure: 12%

As you might expect, Obama’s disapproval rating is very high, 67% either “somewhat disapprove” or “strongly disapprove” of the president. More voters view Lee in the mainstream (41%) than Granato (34%).

There is no question where this one is going in November, but we followed Mike Lee, one of five tea party candidates running for United States Senate in November, during the primary, so an update was called for.

Tea party candidate may knock off GOP incumbent

It appears that Sen. Lisa Murkowski may lose a primary challenge to Joe Miller by 1,492 votes (though that total may change as two precincts are outstanding):

Just when you thought it was safe for incumbents to go back in the polling booth, along come Tuesday’s Republican primaries. GOP Members of Congress who think they can return to business as usual if they regain the majority should pay attention.

The biggest shock came in Alaska, with incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski trailing unheralded challenger Joe Miller by roughly 2,000 votes with as many as 16,000 absentee ballots still to be counted. As a West Point grad, decorated Gulf War veteran and federal magistrate, Mr. Miller is no lightweight. But he was facing one of Alaska’s great family names, part of the GOP establishment that has dominated the state since it joined the union.

Though heavily outspent, Mr. Miller was helped by former Governor Sarah Palin’s endorsement and especially by Ms. Murkowski’s failure to understand the anti-Washington mood. When he asked Senator Murkowski in a debate which part of the Constitution permitted Roe v. Wade and bank bailouts, she responded that the nation might suffer if the government only funded things explicitly authorized by the Constitution. Bad answer.

Ms. Murkowski opposed ObamaCare but Alaskans punished her for her 2009 refusal to rule out a government-run health-care plan. She is learning the lesson that ousted Utah Senator Bob Bennett did: GOP voters don’t want their representatives to negotiate with President Obama. They’re looking for people who can defeat his agenda.

The Tea Party Manifesto

Dick Armey, the former House Majority Leader, and Matt Kibbe, both with FreedomWorks, have penned a tea party manifesto outlining the purpose and direction of the movement:

The tea party movement has blossomed into a powerful social phenomenon because it is leaderless—not directed by any one mind, political party or parochial agenda.

The criteria for membership are straightforward: Stay true to principle even when it proves inconvenient, be assertive but respectful, add value and don’t taking credit for other people’s work. Our community is built on the Trader Principle: We associate by mutual consent, to further shared goals of restoring fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government. These were the principles that enabled the Sept. 12, 2009 taxpayer march on Washington to be one of the largest political protests in the history of our nation’s capital.

The many branches of the tea party movement have created a virtual marketplace for new ideas, effective innovations and creative tactics. Best practices come from the ground up, around kitchen tables, from Facebook friends, at weekly book clubs, or on Twitter feeds. This is beautiful chaos—or, as the Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek put it, “spontaneous order.”

Decentralization, not top-down hierarchy, is the best way to maximize the contributions of people and their personal knowledge. Let the leaders be the activists who have the best knowledge of local personalities and issues. In the real world, this is common sense. In Washington, D.C., this is considered radical.

Tea Party Caucus in the House and Senate

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has filed paperwork to start a Capitol Hill Tea Party Caucus, according to Minnesota Public Radio:

“The American people are speaking out loud and clear. They have had enough of the spending, the bureaucracy, and the government knows best mentality running rampant today throughout the halls of Congress. This caucus will espouse the timeless principles of our founding, principles that all Members of Congress have sworn to uphold,” Bachmann stated. “The American people are doing their part and making their voices heard and this caucus will prove that there are some here in Washington willing to listen.”

Rand Paul, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, has also floated the idea, likely including Mike Lee and Sharron Angle as well as fiscally conservative senators like Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Jim DeMint (R-SC), but some of his possible colleagues are cool to the idea:

So who wants to join Rand Paul’s “tea-party” caucus?

“I don’t know about that,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) replied with a nervous laugh. “I’m not sure I should be participating in this story.”

Republican lawmakers see plenty of good in the tea party, but they also see reasons to worry. The movement, which has ignited passion among conservative voters and pushed big government to the forefront of the 2010 election debate, has also stirred quite a bit of controversy. Voters who don’t want to privatize Social Security or withdraw from the United Nations could begin to see the tea party and the Republican Party as one and the same.

UT Senate: GOP delegates send Bennett home

Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) was not able to convince Republican delegates to send him back to Washington for a fourth term, setting up a primary between Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater on June 22nd:

Facing significant anger aimed at Washington and at some of his past votes, Utah’s Republican Sen. Robert Bennett was eliminated Saturday from seeking re-election to a fourth term, becoming the first incumbent to fall victim to the growing anti-Washington mood ahead of the 2010 mid-term elections.

Bennett came in third in a second round of balloting at the state party convention behind more conservative candidates Tim Bridgewater and Mike Lee. Lee and Bridgewater now will face off in one final round of balloting to see if one can get 60 percent of the vote. If not, then they will face each other in a June primary.

Bridgewater garnered 37.42 percent of the vote while Lee got 35.99 percent. Bennett was eliminated with 26.59 percent of the vote.
While Bennett had won the support of several conservative organizations and has received negative ratings from liberal groups, some of Bennett’s critics focused on his vote for the 2008 financial bailout, known as TARP.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of conservative. I think it’s a matter of fiscal or financial responsibility, what the Tea Party people are about and the vote for TARP and the vote for the bailout was, in our opinion, pretty fiscally irresponsible and that’s what’s raised the ire of most people,” David Kirkham, a Tea Party activist, told CNN in an interview.

Club for Growth launches ad against Sen. Bob Bennett in Utah GOP primary

See Video

Dick Armey endorses conservative over incumbent Utah Republican

Awhile back I mentioned that Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) could be in trouble in his home state as two out of three voters want him gone.

It looks like conservatives may choose to coalesce behind Mike Lee, as former House Majority Leader Dick Armey endorsed his candidacy this weekend at CPAC:

Armey, chairman of Freedom Works, a conservative advocacy group, called Bennett’s record in the Senate disappointing and called for his ouster.

“Certainly the incumbent, Sen. Bennett, has given us our pause over the course of the past few years,” Armey said. “We’ve had one disappointing vote after another.”

Conservatives such as Erick Erickson, editor-in-chief of RedState.com have also called for Bennett’s defeat because of they view as his centrist record in the Senate.
Matt Kibbe, the president of Freedom Works Political Action Committee, said Lee’s defeat of Bennett would shift the ideological balance of Senate Republicans.

“We think guys like Mike are going to shift the center of gravity in the next U.S. Senate,” said Kibbe.

As noted previously in a post about Newt Gingrich, who is backing the incumbent Senator, Bennett has been a disaster, supporting TARP, refusing to cut spending, backing an individual mandate in health care proposal and so on. Seeing conservatives line up against Bennett is a breath of fresh air.

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