POLITICS
05/08/2013 10:14 am ET Updated May 08, 2013

Lindsey Graham 'Begging For A Primary,' Tea Party Leader Says

AP

FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe had tough words for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and other congressional Republicans this week, warning that the Tea Party group wouldn't support candidates just because they are incumbents.

During an interview with ABC-Yahoo News' Top Line posted Wednesday, Kibbe pointed to Graham's opposition to Sen. Rand Paul's (R-Ky.) filibuster on the Obama administration's use of drones as a reason the South Carolina senator may be challenged.

"Lindsey Graham could be replaced with someone worthy of that seat," Kibbe said. "The way he lashed out against Rand Paul, he's begging for a primary."

Graham, currently serving his second term in the Senate, is up for reelection next year. The Republican already has one 2014 challenger: South Carolina attorney Richard Cash, who announced last month his plans to take on Graham in the GOP primary.

"It is time for a new voice in Washington," Cash said of his decision to run against Graham. "We need a voice that represents Christian, conservative, and Republican principles instead of the latest bi-partisan 'deal' that simply makes matters worse."

In the Yahoo interview, Kibbe also took issue with GOP strategist Karl Rove's latest effort, the Conservative Victory Project. Launched by Rove-backed super PAC American Crossroads earlier this year, the project looks to combat the trend of fringe conservative candidates, such as Missouri's Todd Akin, winning GOP primaries but flailing in the general election.

Kibbe said that the project was counterproductive to the Republican Party's goals.

"It's utterly contrary to Republican philosophy, we believe in competition, we believe in open democratic processes, and I think that produces better candidates," Kibbe said. "It's not good for the Republican Party and it's certainly not good for public policy."

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