Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) attacked Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) during a closed door meeting yesterday for not supporting the RINOs he selected to support as candidates in the 2010 elections.
Roll Call reported:
Sen. John Cornyn said during a closed-door meeting Tuesday that he expects colleagues to bring their concerns to him about candidates he recruits as National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman — and not to help mount challenges against them, Republicans familiar with the meeting said Thursday.
Although not mentioned by name, the Republicans said the Texas lawmaker’s speech was clearly intended for the ears of Sen. Jim DeMint.
The South Carolina Republican backed a number of conservative “outsider” candidates this year who won tough primaries against establishment candidates favored by Cornyn, only to be defeated by what had been seen as weak Democratic candidates.
DeMint did not respond to Cornyn’s comments, the Republicans said. However, the two lawmakers have had several conversations since Election Day, GOP aides familiar with the situation said.
NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh declined to comment, but according to Republicans, Cornyn delivered his warning in a speech to the entire Conference during their leadership elections. In the speech, Cornyn noted that some members of the Conference were unhappy with the conservative credentials of Cornyn’s picks and opted to actively work against them during the 2010 cycle.
Rather than attack candidates who have been backed explicitly by the NRSC or by a state’s party, Cornyn said, unhappy Members should come to him with their concerns.
Cornyn’s speech and his post-election meetings with DeMint are unlikely to curb the South Carolinian’s efforts to forge a more conservative GOP Conference in the Senate. Although he did not have the kinds of successes this year that would warrant the title of conservative kingmaker, he nevertheless was a key player in the victories of Sens. elect Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Rand Paul (Ky.).