GOP Purge Continues with Graham Censure, Conservative Challengers

It looks like the call by Erick Erickson of RedState to "purge" the Republican Party in the wake of the NY-23 loss is getting some traction: the Charleston County, South Carolina GOP has actually censured Republican Senator Lindsey Graham for cooperating with the enemy, that is, the Democratic Party. (The Charleston Republicans recently issued recommendations for local races based on interviews they conducted with "a local group of conservatives from the Tea Party Organization" and Glenn Beck's 9.12 organization.) Graham's been on the national conservative shitlist since the Sotomayor hearings, where he predicted her Senate approval.

Elsewhere around the country, hardcore conservatives are backing simpatico challengers to Republican candidates deemed too wet for the new Party's purposes:

In California conservative assemblyman Chuck Devore is running hard against moderate and failed businesswoman Carly Fiorina for the GOP Senate nomination; they're neck and neck in polls. Devore denounces Fiorina as a creature of the "Washington, DC, cocktail circuit" and his celebrity out-of-town endorser, South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint, says of Devore, "he's gonna join the country, and not the club." Devore has praised Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism as "the book American liberals want to burn."

DeMint's PAC is also contributing to Florida insurgent Marco Rubio, whose campaign against Charlie Crist for the GOP Senate nomination is endorsed by the Club for Growth, which worked tirelessly for Doug Hoffman's failed NY-23 bid and is angered by Crist's unseemly lack of anger toward Obama. The Club calls Rubio "a dynamic spokesman for the principles of limited government and economic freedom." During the NY-23 race, Runio exhorted National Review readers to victory: "For conservatives who still don't believe we can be true to our principles and win elections," he said, "I hope NY-23 serves as a wake-up call."

Also in Florida, Armando Gutierrez Jr., a rich, 28-year-old "Young Eagle," is moving from Miami to Orlando to challenge for the right to stand against Democratic congressman Alan Grayson. His campaign is upsetting some of the GOP old guard ("He's pissing a lot of people off"). Nonetheless Gutierrez has already been endorsed by George P. Bush and other investors in the new Republicanism. At his web site, Gutierrez declares himself dedicated to "Stopping a Government Takeover" of health care and "Defending Our Second Amendment Rights." Purgemeister Erickson says he's "intrigued and glad we have a credible candidate."

Generally conservatives seem to believe that the Doug Hoffman candidacy was a cleansing experience for the Party. Matt Lewis compares it to "Barry Goldwater's landslide loss in 1964," which "awakened conservatives and set the stage for gaining ground later... Simply put, NY-23 may go 'viral' in its consequences."

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