South Dakota's self-proclaimed conservatives have been seeking some entity to back one of Mike Rounds's challengers in the 2014 Republican U.S. Senate primary. One such entity is the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF).
It seems, however, that the SCF has rather narrow definition of conservative. The group is targeting Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn who has impeccable conservative credentials:
Cornyn has been one of the most conservative members of the Senate since he was first elected to the chamber in 2002. National Journal ranks Cornyn the second most conservative member of the Senate. He has an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, has won multiple awards from the anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform, has a 0 percent rating from the pro-choice NARAL and a 100 percent rating from the National Right To Life Committee.SCF, however, believes that Cornyn is straying from the true path because he won't support a government shutdown to defund Obamacare.
“Senator Cornyn says he opposes Obamacare and he even says he support defunding Obamacare, but he won’t pledge to oppose funding for Obamacare when it comes up for a vote in September,” Matt Hoskins, executive director of Senate Conservatives Fund, told TPM in an email.
The Senate Conservatives Fund, which was founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), has hit a number of Republicans for what the group argues is insufficient or wavering opposition to Obamacare. The group does not endorse incumbents and, therefore, won’t endorse Cornyn, who is up for re-election in 2014.
“This is when conservatives need him. He voted for the FY2013 CR earlier this year, which also included funding for Obamacare. If people in Texas don’t make their voice heard, he will vote to fund it again,” Hoskins added.Nelson, Rhoden, and Bosworth may all be more conservative than Rounds, but claiming they have better conservative credentials than Cornyn is a much tougher sell. If the SCF will turn on someone with Cornyn's reputation over a disagreement about tactics, can South Dakota conservatives really trust SCF?