Huffpost Politics

Sharron Angle, Rand Paul To Washington: Tea Party-Backed Outsiders Seek Establishment Help

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Tea Party-backed Senate candidates Sharron Angle and Rand Paul campaigned as outsiders during their primary election fights, but now they're acting a lot like Washngton insiders.

The Nevada and Kentucky Senate candidates are each turning to the Washington establishment for fundraising and strategy help.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

On Tuesday, Ms. Angle, who surged to victory on an anti-establishment message, is scheduled to meet with Mr. Cornyn in Washington to discuss how they can work together. On Wednesday, she will appear at a weekly meeting hosted by Americans for Tax Reform, a long-standing gathering point for conservatives from Congress, the GOP and lobbying and activist groups.

Angle consultant Larry Hart told the Washington Post earlier this week that the conservative hopeful's team fully understands the risks of appearing to have "gone Washington," but dismissed the matter as being any cause for concern. "She's down-home," he said of the Tea Party favorite who will take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in November.

Reid's camp hasn't held back however, in blasting Angle's apparent shift in attitude toward Washington since her primary win.

The candidates' critics are seeking to make political hay out of these newfound alliances. "Sharron Angle has long been railing against the establishment" but is now "courting their support," said Jon Summers, a spokesman for Sen. Harry Reid (D., Nev.). Ms. Angle's campaign did not return calls for comment.

Paul will descend on the nation's capital next week and join forces with some big GOP establishment names. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will host a pricey June 24 fundraiser for the conservative contender -- with tickets costing $1,000 for individuals and $5,000 for sponsorships per group.

Paul has come under fire for his plan to attend the ritzy event from Democratic opponent Jack Conway, who said it was an example of the Tea Party hopeful's hypocrisy towards Washington. Paul's camp however, rejected the criticism, suggesting there's no such "credibility issue."

The AP reports:

Conway's campaign said the fundraiser was an example of Paul's hypocrisy by cozying up to Washington insiders he criticized during the primary.

Paul, the son of Texas Congressman Ron Paul, a former presidential candidate, has portrayed himself as an outsider in berating Congress as free-spending and overreaching.

Benton said there's no "credibility issue" for Paul in bad-mouthing the Washington establishment while heading to the capital to benefit from a high-dollar fundraiser.

"Money will not influence Rand," Benton said in a phone interview. "Just because you donate to Rand doesn't mean that you get special favors. He's not that kind of candidate."

The Lexington Herald Leader notes that when Paul hits DC to collect campaign cash, he'll be "voiding a promise made last year to shun money from lawmakers who supported government bank bailouts."

Paul also has plans in the works to attend two additional fundraisers to be hosted by McConnell and Sen. Jim Bunning in his home state later this month.