Rep. Steve LaTourette, the former Ohio Republican congressman who is leading an effort to back Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson, appeared on NPR’s “Morning Edition” Friday to defend a new TV ad blasting tea party candidates who he ways are dragging down the GOP.
In a 5-minute interview, LaTourette says 99.9 percent of tea party members are involved for the “right reasons,” but a few are extremists whose views will prevent the GOP from winning back the Senate. His Main Street Partnership is vowing to match spending by Club for Growth against Simpson and other mainstream Republicans against tea party challengers.
Simpson faces his toughest race since he was first elected in 1998, with a challenge from Idaho Falls lawyer Bryan Smith in the May 2014 Republican primary. Smith is relying heavily on Idaho’s tea party network to upset Simpson, a friend of LaTourette and of another Ohioan, House Speaker John Boehner.