Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) on Saturday railed against Tea Party groups for hurting establishment candidates and incumbents just to fundraise.
“That is a fact. It is not a conjecture, and so many of these groups it is basically donor capture. They are there to perpetuate themselves,” he said at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, La., as recorded by The Daily Beast.
Johnson explained that he feels that some Tea Party groups don’t actually represent the grassroots Tea Party movement, with which he identifies.
“I value the membership of the Tea Party movement. I am right there with them ideologically, I mean, ‘Taxed Enough Already.’ But the groups don’t necessarily represent all of the individuals in the movement. I think the individuals are now realizing they may have been led astray by an individual group or two and they really do understand that they have to win elections,” he said. “My guess is the Tea Party grassroots are maybe a little more flexible.”
The senator stressed that the party needs to be more reasonable in order to win general elections.
“I think the conservative movement may just be maturing a little bit. You can be very doctrinaire, you can demand purity, but in the end if you want to advance policy that you want enacted you have to win elections,” Johnson said. “If you start out bombastic, if you start out with conspiracies, they aren’t going to listen to you.”