Tea party activists say the midterm elections' Republican wave swept in Senate candidates who ran on issues championed by conservatives – and that they'll be held accountable if they stray from those promises.
"Every single Republican ran as a conservative," Brent Bozell, chairman of ForAmerica, told The Hill.
"Name me one moderate issue that won. Moderation was defeated everywhere."
Jenny Beth Martin, who heads the Tea Party Patriots, agreed.
"I think the important thing to note is how many of the people who won in both chambers won because they were supporting tea party issues," Martin told the Washington Examiner.
Winning Republicans ran on a platform of Obamacare repeal, balancing the budget and opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants – and all demanded Republicans hold to those promises when they take control of the Senate, The Hill notes.
But Brian Phillips, communications director for conservative Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee, who chairs the Senate Steering Committee, told The Hill conservatives are concerned the GOP may get stuck on "small-ball items."
"The message that conservatives are sending to the new GOP majority is, we can’t just do small-ball items and we can’t just do the things K Street wants us to do even if they’re good policy," Phillips said.
"We have to make as much a part of our agenda as anything larger reform bills that speak directly to middle class families and working class Americans."
Phillips listed welfare and education reform as two bigger-picture items conservatives want to see on the agenda, and others have emphasized tax reform as well.
He also told The Hill he doubted there'd be any intra-party "tactical" battles like those that led to the 2013 government shutdown.
"We’re in charge now," he said. "We don’t have to fight over the tactics. What we’re going to be debating in the caucus is the substance of the bills, about the right way" to do reforms. That’s a great debate to have in front of the American people."
Citizens United President David Bossie told The Hill he hopes the new Senate conservatives won't abandon the fight against Obamacare, even if there's no chance of outright victory.
"If a bill repealing Obamacare passes the House and passes the Senate and goes to the president and he vetoes it, I don’t know how we can be upset with a bill that does exactly what we asked them to do," Bossie told The Hill.
Bossie warned conservatives already have their eyes on future House and Senate battles, including three Republican incumbents ripe for a primary challenge, one senator and two House members. And tea party favorites swept in on the 2010 GOP wave aren't immune, he told The Hill.
"We look around now and we are not as happy with some of those members as we once were, because they come here and they get co-opted by leadership," he said.
"Would I support them? I don't know. They have to actually do what they promised to do."
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