Sen. Roger Wicker defended his conservative record and credentials Friday in the wake of a Tea Party blogger’s suggestion that Wicker and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker “in particular make exciting prospects for the Tea Party movement.”
Erick Erickson, writing for the Internet site RedState.com, listed Corker, Wicker and all eight other incumbent Republicans slated to stand in 2012 as potential Tea Party targets.
“When you’re in this job or any political position you realize voters’ choices. I am certainly mindful of it. I think conservatives like me and Mr. Erickson better stand by concentrating on reducing excesses and winning the presidency in 2012, and that is very achievable,” Wicker said.
Erickson said Wednesday in a posting that all 10 Republicans slated to run in 2012 could be targeted, but he specifically noted Wicker and Corker.
In addition to Wicker and Corker, the potential GOP incumbent candidates are John Barasso, Wyoming; Scott Brown, Massachusetts; John Ensign, Nevada; Orrin Hatch, Utah; Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas; Jon Kyl, Arizona; Richard Lugar, Indiana; and Olympia Snowe, Maine.
Erickson wrote, “Now, before you all get giddy about Olympia Snowe, I would respectfully suggest that Corker, Hatch, Hutchison, Lugar, and Wicker make better targets as we have a much greater certainty of both beating them in primaries and also winning the general election.”
Wicker said Republicans need to “keep our eyes on the prize. Anyone can check my voting record which a very solidly conservative voting record and recognize how highly rated my record is by conservative rating groups.”
He added that 2012 shapes up as “strikingly similar” to 1980, when Republicans nominated Ronald Reagan to run against incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter, a politically weakened president. Reagan won the first of his two terms, sending Carter home after one term.
Sen. Thad Cochran, when asked about Wicker’s name on the list, expressed surprise. “I cannot imagine why his name is there,” said Cochran, who was elected to the House in 1972 and to the Senate in 1978. “He is a conservative.”
About the Tea Party generally, Cochran said, “I remember when I first was elected to the House that farmers by the thousands came to Washington to protest what they viewed as ill treatment by the government. I had never seen that kind of demonstration before. It made Congress pay attention, and I think we are better off because people can express themselves in that way.”
Cochran’s next election is set in 2014. He has not indicated whether he will seek another term.
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Joe Rutherford/NEMS Daily Journal