WASHINGTON -- Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), a Tea Party favorite who lost reelection in 2012 to Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), is launching a super PAC to fight efforts by establishment Republicans to block ultra-conservatives like himself from winning primary elections.
Walsh announced his latest effort on Tuesday via Twitter. "I'm filing the paperwork to form a super PAC to support freedom-loving conservative alternatives to @KarlRove on FOX," he wrote.
The reference to Rove involves the former George W. Bush strategist's newest political venture, a super PAC to act as a counterweight to more conservative groups like the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks by supporting establishment Republicans in primaries. The latter organizations have supported intraparty challenges to Republican senators and congressmen that some at the top of the GOP believe cost them control of the Senate in the past two election cycles.
On Monday, Walsh denounced the Rove effort on his Walsh Freedom Facebook page, arguing that if Rove had his way, there would be no Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). "Lee, Paul, Rubio, Cruz, Walsh .. all too darn conservative for Karl Rove. Game on, Mr. Rove. Let the fight for the soul of the Republican Party begin," Walsh wrote.
His new venture should come as no surprise to Walsh watchers. Elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, Walsh ruffled feathers by consistently taking the maximal conservative position available. A frequent guest on cable news, he did not hesitate to criticize his own party and was strongly backed by FreedomWorks, another thorn in the side of establishment Republicans.
Indeed, Richard J. Stephenson, the founder of Cancer Treatment Centers of America and a top board member and donor at FreedomWorks who resides in Walsh's former suburban Chicago district, was so enamored with Walsh that he pressured FreedomWorks to spend $1.7 million to help the lawmaker win reelection. This spending came even though the district was redrawn after the 2010 Census to favor a Democrat and despite Walsh's penchant for controversial statements -- two factors that should have warned off an outside group from spending much money on the race.
Walsh did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier on HuffPost:
Obama 'really isn't smart enough' to know what a tyrant is
At a June 16 town hall event in Elmhurst, Ill., Walsh <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/20/joe-walsh-obama-immigration-policy-change_n_1612997.html" target="_hplink">called</a> President Barack Obama a "tyrant" for announcing an immigration policy change that allows some young undocumented immigrants to stay in the country. Walsh then corrected himself, saying Obama "really isn't smart enough to know what that means."
Democrats want 'African-Americans dependent on government'
Walsh <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/30/joe-walsh-hispanics-african-americans_n_1557480.html" target="_hplink">accused</a> minority groups of being dependent on the federal government during a late April speech in Schaumburg, Ill. Walsh told constituents that Democrats "want Hispanics to be dependent on government just like they got African-Americans dependent on government. That's their game."
On Democratic opponent's military service
In a March interview with Politico's Dave Catanese, Walsh <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/74625.html" target="_hplink">brushed off</a> Democratic opponent Tammy Duckworth's military service. "I have so much respect for what she did in the fact that she sacrificed her body for this country," Walsh said of the double-amputee veteran of the Iraq War. "Ehhh. Now let's move on."
Obama elected because he 'was black, he was historic'
In a May 2011 interview with Slate's Dave Weigel, Walsh <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2011/05/what_did_he_just_say.2.html" target="_hplink">said</a> President Barack Obama was elected because of his race. "Why was he elected? Again, it comes back to who he was. He was black, he was historic," Walsh told Weigel.
'I don't care about the loss of public sector jobs'
When a constituent asked Walsh he supported saving post office jobs, he <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/special/2011/11/10/365890/walsh-insults-post-office-worker/" target="_hplink">shot back</a>, "I don't care about the loss of public sector jobs," according to the constituent's account. His remarks came at the end of a heated town hall event in Gurnee, Ill., where Walsh <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/11/08/364180/joe-walsh-melts-down-bank-lobby/" target="_hplink">interrupted</a> constituents discussing bank lobbyists in Congress. "Don't blame banks, and don't blame the marketplace for the mess we're in right now!" Walsh shouted at attendees. "I am tired of hearing that crap! This pisses me off!"
'The country voted for' Obama because of his race
Walsh <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/04/30/473743/joe-walsh-obama-black/" target="_hplink">rehashed</a> his previous claims that Barack Obama was elected president because of his race during an April town hall event in Illinois. "He's our first African-American president," Walsh told constituents. "The country voted for him because of that."
Double-amputee Democratic opponent not a 'true hero'
Walsh <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/joe-walsh-tammy-duckworth_n_1646793.html" target="_hplink">criticized</a> Democratic opponent Tammy Duckworth -- a double-amputee veteran of the Iraq War -- for making her military service central to her campaign and thus not being a "true hero." "Now I'm running against a woman who, my God, that's all she talks about," Walsh told constituents at a town hall event in Elk Grove, Ill., on Sunday. "Our true heroes, it's the last thing in the world they talk about."