The effort to oust Republican Sen. Bob Bennett (UT) in 2010 is gelling, a bit: the Dick Armey-led activist group FreedomWorks endorsed conservative candidate Mike Lee today at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC.
This comes after the Club for Growth announced Jan.8 that it would oppose Bennett, while declining to endorse any of his potential challengers specifically...
The semblance of unity here between FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth is significant: the Club for Growth injects millions into campaigns every cycle to back pro-business conservative candidates, while FreedomWorks tries to rouse grassroots activist support. They're ideologically similar: fiscal conservative, pro-business, small-government, and Ayn Randish.
FreedomWorks has cultivated a close relationship with the tea party movement, helping to coordinate rallies and, now, discussing strategy with the leaders of Tea Party Patriots, a group that claims a membership base of 15 million.
Now I think it's just dandy to challenge an incumbent House or Senate member in the party primary - as a matter of fact, I myself prefer current Utah Citizens' Candidate Claudia Wright to Jim Matheson, for a reason that I'm sure is the mirror image of the reason that Bennett is being challenged: Matheson is way, way too conservative for me, and Bennett is apparently too "liberal" for some national conservative groups.
Now herein lies a crucial difference. The primary challenge to Matheson is completely of, by, and for citizens. Bennett's primary challenge, on the other hand, is being manipulated by FreedomWorks and Club for Growth - neither of which is a local or citizen-powered organization. Get ready, Utah Republican primary, because I have a feeling a lot of AstroTurf is on its way...
UPDATE: RedState has video of Lee from CPAC up.