I see that Miss Harnett County has horned her way in as a speaker at Civitas’s Conservative Leadership Conference. There’s also a lot of talk — likely started by her and her friends — that she will be joining Thom Tillis and Phil Berger in the 2014 GOP primary for US Senate.
Mrs. Ellmers has had her share of run-ins with Tea Partiers throughout the Second District. (You know, the folks who busted their butts to help her slip past ol’ Boom Boom in 2010.) In fact, she told our very own masterpiece of a local paper that she “never really was a Tea Party person.”
I’ve stumbled across some things from the ol’ archives that really add to the narrative that Renee really doesn’t like conservatives and their ideas all that much. Check this out from The Politico in 2011:
House Republicans on Wednesday morning were calling for the firing of Republican Study Committee staffers after they were caught sending e-mails to conservative groups urging them to pressure GOP lawmakers to vote against a debt proposal from Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Infuriated by the e-mails from Paul Teller, the executive director of the RSC, and other staffers, members started chanting “Fire him, fire him!” while Teller stood silently at a closed-door meetings of House Republicans.
“It was an unbelievable moment,” said one GOP insider. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
An RSC aide sent a Tuesday e-mail to outside conservatives seeking to “kill the Boehner deal.” The RSC emails were sent to a listserv with conservative activists.
“We need statements coming up to the Hill every hour of the day in mounting opposition to the plan,” RSC staffer Wesley Goodman wrote to a Google email group called “CutCapBalance.” That group included Teller.
RSC Chairman Jim Jordan (Ohio), who opposes the Boehner plan, apologized for the incident.
Teller did not respond to a request for comment following the GOP Conference meeting.
In a brief interview with POLITICO on Wednesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said he’s “an RSC member and I don’t like to see Republicans attacking other Republicans.”
A steady stream of Republicans stood up at the meeting to heap abuse on Teller and the RSC. House Republicans were particularly peeved that the RSC was targeting some of its own dues-paying members.
Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), a member of leadership and one of those targeted in an RSC email, stood up, read the message aloud and demanded Teller explain himself.
“If we keep this from ever coming to the floor, we have a greater chance of victory than defeating on a vote on the floor.” Goodman ended his email saying: “Here are the people we need to reach today who are undecided or only leaning one way right now,” according to the email, which was obtained by POLITICO.
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), an RSC member and one of those on the RSC “target list,” said that leadership has given the RSC “everything that we have asked for.” Ellmers said she may quit the group.
“Yet when it comes time for a little bit of compromise on the RSC’s part, they’re not willing to compromise. And that’s just not the way to go about this,” Ellmers said
Ellmers said there “seems to be a little bit more than a connection” between the RSC and outside conservative groups.
The RSC controversy comes as Boehner and the GOP leadership are twisting arms to get their members in line behind the debt package, which is supposed to come to the House floor Thursday.
Jordan and other conservatives are opposed to the measure, saying it does not go far enough in cutting government spending. The Congressional Budget Office ruled Tuesday that the Boehner plan falls $150 billion short of the $1 trillion goal set by Boehner, forcing House leaders to delay the vote by a day to revise the bill.
The CBO announcement worried some conservatives, who don’t believe Boehner and the leadership have gone far enough in proposing spending cuts.
The RSC (Republican Study Committee) is an informal caucus of Republican House members devoted to limiting government, cutting taxes and cutting spending.
Another 2011 item in The New York Times praised Miss Harnett County for her “courage” for dumping her anti-government views and lobbying her colleagues to support the debt ceiling increase:
Mrs. Ellmers’s willingness to promote Mr. Boehner’s agenda places her in direct contrast to some of her freshman colleagues, who prefer to repair to Fox News to verbally poke the Republican leadership in the eye.
Her loyalty, relentless cheer and folksy locution — a news conference complement to the laconic, cigarette-tinged pronouncements of Mr. Boehner — have combined to make her one of the Republican leadership’s greatest freshman allies, and a rising star in the conference she once derided from her perch at Tea Party rallies back home.
There is Mrs. Ellmers giving the Republicans’ weekly radio address. There she is on CNN or “Fox and Friends,” explaining why Mr. Boehner’s plan to deal with the debt ceiling — one that many of her classmates protested — was the right path. There she is writing op-ed articles and pushing the message of the leaders, rather than of the elected president of the freshman class.
Her willingness to join the leadership, rather than beat up on it, is something that Tea Party groups in her state have begun to notice. Mrs. Ellmers understands their chagrin because she has been there.
“There is just a lot of mistrust Americans have for ‘those people in Washington,’ ” she said, adding with a laugh, “and now I am one of those people in Washington.”
Mrs. Ellmers said that before she arrived here, she believed Mr. Boehner and his cohorts were not standing up to Democrats. “When I got here I realized that wasn’t the case at all,” she said. “I was told he wasn’t conservative. He is conservative. And that’s what I tell other people in our discussion.”
For the most part, she has voted for bills supported by the House Republican leadership, parting ways most notably on Libya, where she voted against eliminating money for that operation.
In an e-mail, Mr. Boehner said: “Renee has made quite an impact in our conference and in her freshman class because she speaks her mind and doesn’t get bogged down in the political games that often grip Washington. I am proud of the work she has done and know that because of her conservative, common-sense values, she will continue to play a leadership role.”
Mrs. Ellmers’s support for the leadership is even more noteworthy since she was all but abandoned by her party during her 2010 campaign against Bob Etheridge, a seven-term Democratic incumbent. After a recount, she was certified as the winner by 1,484 votes out of almost 190,000 ballots cast.
During the current recess, Mrs. Ellmers is trying to persuade her constituents in central North Carolina that she has been right to stand with the Republican leadership and that she and her party are right in their fiscal vision for the nation.