Mitt Romney Sides Against Tea Party Challenger In Idaho House Race

November 18, 2013 7:12 a.m.

Mitt Romney endorsed Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) for re-election in the Republican primary for Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District. 

Romney made the endorsement on Monday in a fundraising email. 

“Congressman Mike Simpson is a proven conservative and ‘Idaho tough,’” Romney wrote in the fundraising email according to Roll Call. “But some groups from outside Idaho have decided to attack Mike and distort his conservative record. He needs our help to fight back and set the record straight.”

Simpson faces a primary challenger from tea partier Bryan Smith, who has managed to collect a number of endorsements from prominent conservative groups including the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks. A week earlier Smith was endorsed by the National Association of Gun Rights PAC.  

In his endorsement, Romney highlighted Simpson having voted 40-times to repeal Obamacare as well as his A-plus rating with the National Rifle Association and the fact that Simpson co-sponsored the Balanced Budget Amendment Act. 

The race is largely seen as representative between tea party and more mainstream wings of the Republican party. Simpson is often described as a close ally of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). Romney himself has notable ties to Simpson, as national political director for Romney’s 2012  presidential campaign, Todd Cranney, is working on Simpson’s re-election campaign. 

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