It’s a catch-22 for the party: Stay out, and risk untested candidates like Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) or Richard Mourdock of Indiana prevailing in the primaries and losing winnable races; or engage early and risk the kind of grassroots backlash that divided the party in many of the 2010 Senate races.
There is a consensus among a number of state Republican Party officials and grassroots groups that backlash is all but assured if the GOP establishment gets involved to the same extent as 2010.
“There’s always going to be fundamental dislike of the national party coming in to a local or a state race and saying, ‘This is who we want to pick,’” said Keli Carender, national grassroots coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots.
Tea Party backlash to establishment engagement in a number of Senate primaries during the 2010 cycle is part of what cost the party some easy wins that cycle, critics say.
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