Conservative groups can't find 2014 candidates

Many potential GOP primary challengers have chosen not to run, leaving conservatives without viable alternatives

By Jillian Rayfield
Published July 3, 2013 4:35PM (EDT)

Conservative groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund and Club for Growth are having trouble recruiting viable candidates to challenge Republicans in the 2014 primaries, with most of the favored candidates declining to run.

In South Dakota, for instance, Tea Party favorite Rep. Kristi Noem decided not to enter the primary against Gov. Mike Rounds, a Republican making a bid for the Senate seat of retiring Sen. Tim Johnson, a Democrat. In Iowa, Rep. Steve King, a well-known immigration hard-liner, decided not to run for Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin's seat when he retires that year, leaving no clear front-runner among conservatives -- or Republicans, for that matter.

The Hill reports:

Though Tea Party activists in Kentucky insisted earlier this year that they’d have a candidate by June, no one has yet launched a primary challenge against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R).

And Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a top target for conservatives looks safer after two conservative congressmen — Reps. Joe Wilson and Mick Mulvaney — ruled out a run.

“There is a sliver of truth ... in the sense that, maybe compared to other cycles, the conservative candidates have not come on line as quickly,” Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, told the Hill.

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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2014 Elections Club For Growth Conservatives Republicans Senate Conservatives Fund