The Tea Party Leadership Fund told Secrets that it is readying to spend millions of dollars in the coming months to challenge the speaker who this week shopped an immigration reform package to his caucus during a retreat in Cambridge, Md.
The group has already spent $120,000 on ad buys and direct mail targeting voters in the upcoming May 6 Republican primary. They disagree with Boehner's position on immigration reform and other issues.
It even erected a billboard in Boehner's district west of Columbus and just north of Cincinnati showing him seated with President Obama and House Minority Nancy Pelosi. The headline: “John Boehner. Their side, not yours.”
Boehner has faced challenges from his right ever since winning the speakership in 2010, but has never been seriously threatened at the ballot box. He typically wins well over 60 percent of the vote in the heavily Republican district and spends millions more than his foes.
After the most recent government shutdown that damaged the conservative wing of the House GOP, he has become more effective and sure of himself according to aides and media reports.
That doesn't intimidate the Tea Party Leadership Fund, which uses the motto, “Taking down the establishment.” It is bringing in a campaign field director to help the eventual Tea Party candidate, plans to buy three more billboards in the district and continue circulating their petition to replace Boehner, which has more than 100,000 signatures on the website www.PrimaryBoehner.com.
While Boehner’s team is confident that he will win re-election to another term, his 13th, Tea Party officials believe he is beatable.
Talk radio host Rusty Humphries is leading the effort to chose one of two Tea Party candidates to support. He spent time in Boehner's district interviewing the candidates and getting the lay of the political landscape.
"John Boehner has declared war on conservatives demanding lower taxes and limited government," said Humphries. "We declare war on him. We intend to send a message to his fellow 'Republicans In Name Only' that such ideologically bankrupt leadership must come to an end."Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.