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Republican Super PAC War Splits the Party

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Priebus’ new agenda for the GOP has a long list of recommendations for allies of the party, but it’s unlikely to smooth over intraparty rifts.

Still, the proliferation of far-flung new GOP groups presents a direct challenge to Priebus, whose post-mortem of the 2012 elections devotes several pages to the role GOP “Friends and Allies” should play in helping the party beef up its ground game, messaging and get-out-the-vote infrastructure. Many of the new super PACs on the scene have assailed not just Rove but the RNC itself.

The recently released “Growth & Opportunity Project” is a costly and “ridiculous” rebranding campaign that is “the type of strategy that doomed the party in 2012,” Medina declared in a statement announcing the Real Conservatives National Committee on Tuesday.

“The Tea Party Patriots is not waiting on the Republican Party,” chimed in Jenny Beth Martin, the group’s co-founder and president. “We know what needs to get done, and we’re going to do what we can to get the job done so that we’ll have a constitutionally limited government.”

Asked about the RNC’s 100-page agenda, Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said he’s not even sure he’ll read it.

“We’re not a party organization,” said Chocola, whose group has aggressively intervened on behalf of fiscal conservatives in GOP primaries. “We support a lot of Republicans, but we’re not in the business of electing Republicans.”

Chocola’s group recently unveiled a new website, dubbed “Primary My Congressman,” that features mini-profiles portraying several GOP incumbents as lacking true conservative credentials. Both the club and FreedomWorks, a major tea party backer, have been highly critical of Rove’s new super PAC. FreedomWorks set up a website dubbed “NotKarlsParty.com.”

Other new GOP super PACs respond to party concerns, aired exhaustively in Priebus’ postelection autopsy, that Republicans’ failure to recapture the White House or the Senate in 2012 stems from the party’s failure to appeal to Latinos and other increasingly influential demographic groups. Castellanos told CNN that his NewRepublican.org super PAC will help “win the middle” and advance the GOP brand.

Wright said in announcing the Conservative Melting Pot PAC that it will help “grow” the GOP by backing, particularly, “minorities and women.” Similarly, the new super PAC led by former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Republicans for Immigration Reform, sets out to provide political cover to GOP lawmakers committed to an immigration overhaul.

“We agree that as a party, we need to get operationally stronger, and certainly need to improve our performance among a broader range of demographic groups,” Chris Jankowski, president of the Republican State Leadership Committee, said of the Priebus agenda. Jankowski declined to comment on specific new GOP PACs but said the ongoing GOP debate over their role in primaries “is starting to become more about personalities than principles.”

An earlier version of this story misquoted RSLC President Chris Jankowski. He said the GOP primary debate 'is starting to become more about personalities than principles.'

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