Where the tea party conservatives live

October 15, 2013

Speaker John Boehner's attempt to offer legislation that would alter the Senate's expected deal on the debt ceiling and government shutdown has been met with resistance within his own conference, an all-too-familiar storyline for the Ohio Republican as he attempts to lead a remarkably fractious group of 232 GOPers.  At the heart of Boehner's problem -- in this budget fight and in all of the major legislative fights so far this year -- are a group of four dozen or so House GOPers who view any compromise on any issue as capitulation.

We have done a fair amount of work to categorize  this group -- we call them cast iron conservatives --  and what they believe. But, what districts they represent across the country is another piece to the puzzle of understanding a bloc of Members that are currently exercising influence within the Republican party well beyond their raw numbers. That's where this terrific map from New Yorker comes in. It details the congressional districts where the 79 Republican members who signed a letter in August demanding that Boehner pass legislation defunding Obamacare represent. (This, like all single measures, is an imperfect one but it captures the general gist.)

Not surprisingly, none of the tea party conservatives represent districts won by President Obama in 2012. That's consistent with the conventional wisdom that many of these Members need never worry about losing a general election but rather only face the possibility of a serious challenge in a primary, making them more likely to hew to the conservative line. In terms of states, Texas leads the way with 11 Republican signees of the defund Obamacare letter. No Northeastern state has a single tea party conservative in its ranks.

Image courtesy of the New Yorker
Image courtesy of the New Yorker
Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.
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Chris Cillizza | October 15, 2013