Moderate Republicans team up with labor unions to defeat the tea party in 2014

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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A Republican super PAC committed to defeating the tea party in 2014 congressional primaries is mostly funded by labor unions.

The super PAC Defending Main Street, formed by moderate Republican and former congressman Steve LaTourette, has committed itself to destroying tea party challenges to establishment GOP candidates in the 2014 midterm elections.

“Hopefully we’ll go into eight to 10 races and beat the snot out of them,” LaTourette said. His PAC has already committed itself to defending Republican Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson from tea party opponent Bryan Smith, who is backed by the conservative Club for Growth due to Simpson’s support for the Wall Street bailout. Defending Main Street also aims to defend incumbent House Republicans Aaron Schock and Adam Kinzinger and West Virginia Senate candidate Shelley Moore Capito.

The PAC hopes to raise $8 million this election cycle to wage war with the tea party. So far, the PAC has raised only $845,000, and most of it came from labor unions, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) receipts.

The PAC picked up only seven donors in late 2013 and five of them were unions or union-affiliated PAC’s.

The Laborers’ Political League Education Fund donated $100,000 to Defending Main Street.

The International Union of Operating Engineers gave $250,000.

The Laborers’ International Union of North America gave $150,000.

Working for Working Americans-Federal gave $250,000.

The Marine Engineers Beneficial Association Political Action Fund chipped in $15,000.

Only two non-union interests made donations: the Chicakasaw Nation gave $50,000 and David Bonderman of Fort Worth, Texas gave $30,000.

That means unions gave $765,000 of the PAC’s $845,000 cash on hand — more than 90 percent.

“I never believed you need to be anti-trade union to be a Republican,” LaTourette told The Daily Caller, noting that he’s built good relationships with labor unions in his 18 years on Capitol Hill. “When we launched, it was natural for me to go to them.”

“Their members don’t go to work when there’s gridlock, and they see center-right Republicans as a good” tool to help alleviate gridlock, LaTourette said, claiming that 40 percent of union members are Republicans.

“They have decided to systemically go against center-right Republicans in primary elections,” LaTourette said of his tea party rivals, saying that tea partiers are happy to call him a “RINO” but that that they go “apopletic” when the “RINO gets a gun” and “fires back.”

“Here’s the deal: we didn’t start this fight,” LaTourette said, “but I’m going to finish it.”

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