WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 28: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (C) talks to reporters after the weekly Republican Senate caucus luncheon with (L-R) Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) at the U.S. Capitol January 28, 2014 in Washington, DC. Senate Republicans took swings at President Barack Obama and his policies hours before he is scheduled to deliver his sixth State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
 Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), center, talks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 28. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A basic complaint against the tea party and D.C.-based right-wing groups is that they pick flaky GOP candidates who, even if they get the nomination, wipe out in the general election. This was the story of Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, Sharron Angle in Nevada, Ken Buck in Colorado, Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana.

This crowd hasn’t learned much. They want to recycle Buck (coming up with revisionist history to justify a second run). They made Kentucky their number one priority — only to see candidate Matt Bevin founder 30 points behind the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) And then there is North Carolina. The candidate with the clear shot at beating incumbent Democrat Kay Hagen is state House Speaker Thom Tillis, who leads in polling. But the right-wing gang set its eyes upon novice Greg Brannon. The right-wingers have given him money and high-profile endorsements. He’s now facing a civil trial in which he is accused of misleading investors. Oops.

It is do or die time for these groups. They’ve made McConnell their top priority. The Senate Conservatives Fund has sunk nearly $1 million in independent expenditures and direct funding for Bevin. At some point their donors will hold them accountable for the results.

This is the third election (beginning in 2010) in which tea party and D.C.-based right-wing groups have picked oddball candidates to primary viable candidates. If they don’t succeed and show better judgment this time around, isn’t it three strikes and they are out? It is hard to justify taking donors’ money to back not only losing candidates but ones who embarrass the party and give other GOP candidates grief.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.