After Senator Olympia Snowe was criticized from the right, both nationally and in Maine, the national Republican Establishment looks like it’s indicating its preferences for her successor.
With the United States having relatively few political parties compared to most democracies, American parties typically have a larger range of internal ideologies. Political scientists often say that in other democratic countries, coalitions form between parties but in the United States, they form within parties.
The thing is, relationships between parts of each political party can get tense. In the last few years, tea party and movement conservatives have contended with conservative and moderate establishment Republicans. And there have also been Republican schisms in Maine politics.
Now national Republicans have been assisting some Maine Republican Senate candidates in getting the signatures they need to get on the primary ballot.
According to Jonathan Riskind,
The chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee has committed $5,000 to help each of four major Maine Republicans who might be on the U.S. Senate ballot.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who chairs the NRSC, is giving from his personal leadership political action committee, not official party committee funds. Cornyn has committed the money to help with the process of gathering signatures and other work needed to try to get on the ballot and get a campaign going.
The assistance is not only financial.
The NRSC also has had staff on the ground in Maine to help with the signature gathering process.
And who are being helped?
The four Maine Republicans are: Rick Bennett, the former Maine Senate president who Monday turned in 2,700 petition signatures to get on the Senate ballot; Secretary of State Charlie Summers; Treasurer Bruce Poliquin; and Attorney General William Schneider.
This means two candidates have been left out, Scott D’Amboise and Debra Plowman. D’Amboise is a favorite of the Tea Party who had challenged Snowe for the nomination. Plowman is quite conservative.
Might this contribute to on-going tensions between the Republican Establishment and movement and Tea Party conservatives and some new ones related to this contest, some of which pointed to Schneider and Bennett as establishment favorites?
And how will it play into bad feelings arising from the Maine caucus mess, some of which were aired at a recent closed-door party meeting? Look to the upcoming GOP state party convention, which Ron Paul supporters have pledged to attend in force, for more indications.