Republicans Promise Scott Brown Challenge

A Republican organization that backed Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) with independent expenditures and fundraising assistance says it will work to defeat Brown in a Republican primary next year in order to protect the party’s brand.

Scott Wheeler, who heads the National Republican Trust PAC, said the group never expected Brown to toe a consistently conservative line, given his home state. But Brown’s vote for the New START Treaty with Russia in late 2010 was a bridge too far, Wheeler said.

“We believe the Democrats’ policies are destroying the country. Why let them take a Republican vote with them? If we’re not going to have at least a symbolic vote against some of this garbage, then let’s make the Democrats take the blame for it. It’s their policies,” Wheeler said in a Friday interview. “I say, no more Republican hostages.”

The PAC spent about $95,000 on independent expenditure ads on Brown’s behalf in the run-up to the January 2010 special election. That’s a fraction of the amount other groups, like the Republican and Democratic senatorial committees, spent on the race. And the National Republican Trust isn’t a major financial powerhouse; it raised $1.1 million through late November 2010, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission, and spent $1.4 million on elections.

But the PAC has a national network of donors, and Wheeler promised he would use the committee’s resources against Brown.

“We’re going to finance a primary opponent,” he said. “I might even ask him to give our money back.”

Read more from Reid Wilson at Hotline On Call

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