Cornyn Hires Top Tea Party Operative for Campaign | Shop Talk

Cornyn is seeking re-election in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has hired former FreedomWorks Campaigns Director Brendan Steinhauser to manage his 2014 re-election campaign.

"I look forward to working with my team to ensure that Texas remains red," Cornyn said in a written statement. "Brendan has been working hard for conservative policies and candidates in more than 40 states, and I am excited that he is joining our team in Texas."

The hire is most likely intended to help Cornyn ingratiate himself with his state's tea party base. FreedomWorks often provides grass-roots support to tea party candidates.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's upset in the 2012 primary emboldened tea party activists. This cycle, Texas tea party activists speculated they could challenge Cornyn, but no legitimate candidate has emerged.

The race is rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.