The Corner

Price, Eyeing a Senate Run, Says Conservatives Need Better Campaigns

Georgia Republican Tom Price, who is flirting with a Senate bid, commended Karl Rove’s controversial Conservative Victory Project this morning at a National Review briefing, and urged conservatives to run better campaigns.

“Republicans ought to be in the majority of the United States Senate,” said Price, a prominent House conservative and vice chair of the Budget Committee. “We have lost seats that we should not have lost because of a failure of communications, a failure of message, a failure of coherence within campaigns.”

“Clearly, we can’t continue the same processes that we’ve had in the past and expect to increase our numbers in order to help save the country in the Senate,” he added.

Earlier this month, the Conservative Victory Project, a project of American Crossroads, drew fire from conservatives and tea-party activists, especially after Steven Law, the group’s president, told the New York Times that it would work against conservative candidates in primaries if they are perceived as unelectable.

Price emphasized that he is not encouraging intra-party squabbles, but he is eager to see Republicans take back the Senate majority. He lauded “anybody who is willing to engage in the process and get conservative candidates through the process of the nomination and to a general election.”

Asked if he was comfortable with the Conservative Victory Project knocking Republicans during a primary with television ads, Price said he understood why that’s occasionally necessary.

“I have some discomfort with all Republican primaries because they’re all family squabbles,” he said, noting that he grew up as a middle child and is no stranger to sibling quarrels. “But we’ve got to be smarter about what we’re doing in order to get quality conservative candidates out of the other end of that chute, to go toe-to-toe with Democrats who are clearly taking this country in the wrong direction.”

Price won’t make a final decision on a Senate run until May, but he appears to be leaning toward a bid, if his comments today are any indication. “I think there are wonderful reasons to run for the Senate,” he said. “The Senate is the dysfunctional entity on the legislative side in Washington. To have an opportunity to affect positively the processes of the Senate and get things rolling and moving is a great opportunity, would be a great privilege.”

“I wouldn’t say one way or another, but we’re very interested in the possibility,” he continued, smiling. “This is a fascinating time. Another attraction of the Senate is that the Senate is becoming a more conservative body from a governance standpoint, or will over the next cycle or two, than the House.”

“It’s an exciting conference that’s building,” he said. “You can just sense it. It would be really exciting to be involved with guys and gals who fight as hard as they can to save the country.” He mentioned senators Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ron Johnson as conservatives he admires.

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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