They arrived in January of 2011, unfamiliar with the ways of Washington, and promising never to adapt. The Republican freshman of the 112th Congress had helped take back the House, riding a Tea Party-infused, throw-the-bums-out wave of conservative disgust with career politicians.
But after three years in office and an election season looming, a number of GOP Congressmen find themselves facing scrappy challengers who say that they are now the ones with a serious case of Potomac Fever.
“I didn’t expect Renee to go this route,” said Frank Roche, a conservative Internet talk show host, who is challenging Renee Ellmers in North Carolina’s Second Congressional District. “I am sad she did. Unfortunately she has chosen to go along with the establishment in Washington D. C.”
Ellmers was a nurse and a Tea Party favorite when she emerged out of a crowded field in 2010, and went on to eke out a win against the Democratic incumbent. Then, she harped on the building of the so-called Ground Zero Mosque in New York in her campaign speeches, compared President Obama to Louis XIV and said that his administration is establishing a “socialistic form of government.”
Even in 2012, Roche counted himself as a supporter. But her backing of immigration reform convinced Roche to throw his own hat into the ring.
“I think that is a danger to our country.”
Plus, Roche added, since running as an outsider in 2010, Ellmers has cozied up to leadership.
That was a complaint heard again and again, from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Florida’s Gulf Coast to points in between: The one-time Outsiders had gone inside, and for evidence just look to a House Republican leadership that was embracing the one-time radicals.
“There is only one person in my district more unpopular than Barack Obama, and that is John Boehner,” said Andrew McNeil, referring to the Speaker of the House.
McNeil is running against Larry Bucshon, a heart surgeon with no political experience when he ran for Congress in 2010 and made his lack of experience in electoral office an asset.
McNeil, a territory manager for a Midwestern coffee company, described himself as “just an ordinary father of seven home-schooled kids concerned about the state of our country.”
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