Michelle Malkin Girds For 2014 GOP Civil War

Michelle Malkin doesn’t run away from fights, she runs toward them. And she’s running faster than ever headlong into the 2014 Republican primary battles on behalf of upstart conservative candidates who are mounting insurgent challenges to the GOP old guard.

Twitter is Malkin’s weapon of choice. Battles with her almost always devolve into wars, and those who follow the conservative social media scene know she has a proven formula online: Taunting quips from foes bring out the full force of her Twitter arsenal, with snappy replies, catchy hashtags and the mobilization of a legion of energized followers.

Malkin, 43, says she’s using her influence — and her confrontational approach — on behalf of candidates she deems worthy of it in this year’s midterm.

“I see the practically unlimited power that social media has to help push the issues and causes and people I care about,” Malkin told POLITICO in a recent interview. “I know what I’m good at.”

She’s focusing on backing politicians challenging establishment Republicans — for instance, she’s thrown her support behind Katrina Pierson, who is campaigning to unseat longtime incumbent Rep. Pete Sessions in Texas.

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said Malkin’s conservative media power can certainly translate into real world political influence — as long as she picks the right races to back in 2014. In the Pierson challenge, for example, “Malkin can certainly drive attention to the race, but in that situation it’s an uphill battle” against a well-funded incumbent, he said.

And after the defeats of Republican senators Bob Bennett and Dick Lugar to tea party challengers, many high-profile incumbents are now “on alert,” O’Connell noted, so Malkin’s influence would be best put to use in lower-profile races where upstart candidates need visibility.

“There’s no question that Michelle Malkin is beloved by the tea party and the conservative grassroots,” he said. “When she talks, they listen. The grassroots listens. It’s a testament to her own tenacity and also the media persona she’s built up.”

Read more from Mackenzie Weinger at Politico

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