ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:
Prominent conservative leaders are putting critics of Sen. Jim DeMint on notice: Stop blaming the South Carolina Republican for the GOP’s failure to take back the majority in the Senate — or else.
Led by Richard Viguerie, who heads the Web site ConservativeHQ.com, a group of three dozen high-profile DeMint backers, say they will respond to the senator’s detractors “in word and deed.”
“Conservatives will not only challenge and beat more Republican senators in Republican primaries, but conservatives will stop funding and volunteering for the NRSC and the RNC,” Viguerie wrote in a letter addressed to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. “Instead, conservatives will send their money to, and volunteer for, Senator DeMint’s Senate Conservative Fund and the candidates Senator DeMint supports.”
And Viguerie and his counterparts didn’t stop there:
“It would be our goal for the Senate Conservatives Fund to raise more money than the NRSC,” the letter continues. “Conservatives will also work to defeat in Republican primaries those Republicans who retain consultants who criticize or try to undermine Senator DeMint.”
DeMint has been taking heat from some members of the Republican Party for endorsing anti-establishment primary candidates like Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell and Colorado’s Ken Buck, who ended up losing their general election contests in places where Republicans thought they otherwise could have prevailed.
In the wake of last Tuesday’s election, which swept dozens of Tea Party candidates into Congress, conservative heavyweights have declared a war on moderates, especially those who have taken issue with DeMint’s independent-minded strategy.
In his letter Viguerie warned that “such false and unfair attacks aid and abet President Obama, the Democratic Party and the liberal media,” adding: “We consider such attacks on Senator Jim DeMint an attack on us and all conservatives.”
As of Friday the letter was co-signed by 36 leaders and the writers are seeking to double that number by Monday.