The Tea Party Express, which raised and spent millions of dollars to knock off moderate Republicans in Alaska, Colorado and Delaware in the 2010 election cycle, is now going after Olympia Snowe in Maine.
The conservative group, arguably the most organized and best funded campaign tool in the tea party movement, announced Thursday afternoon that it plans to fight the moderate Republican’s 2012 re-election effort. Snowe enjoys tremendous popularity across the political spectrum in her home state, but she has irritated Maine’s small and disjointed tea party movement for her willingness to work with Democrats.
Pine Tree State conservatives have already dubbed “Snowe removal” a top priority for 2012, when Maine’s senior Senator will seek her fourth term. But they have struggled to rally around a single challenger.
“Olympia Snowe dishonors the notion that the Republican Party is supposed to be the fiscally conservative, constitutionalist political party in America,” Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer said in a statement.
“She voted for the bailouts, the failed stimulus plan, the repeal of tax cuts and showed her disdain for the constitution by voting in favor of the nominations of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotamayer to the Supreme Court,” Kremer said in the statement, which misspelled Sotomayor’s last name.
Snowe’s chief of staff, John Richter, countered that the Tea Party Express was “obviously ... totally unfamiliar with her record on fiscal responsibility.”
“The idea that Senator Snowe dishonors the notion that Republicans are the fiscally conservative party is absurd,” he wrote to Roll Call on Thursday, listing her effort in 2001 to preserve federal surpluses and pay down the national debt, as well as her support for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.