The unlikely allies oppose business-backed incumbents.
By CHASE COOK World Staff Writer
An unusual coalition has been formed this political season.
Trial lawyers - normally Democratic allies - have formed and are financing three political action committees that are the most generous donors to conservative challengers to incumbents in Tuesday's Republican primaries.
The 7th Amendment Christian Coalition, James Madison PAC and Defenders of the Constitution PAC have contributed $61,500 to the conservative challengers, and the funding is coming from lawyers who have historically supported Democratic candidates, according to campaign reports.
Forty-three of the 44 contributions are from lawyers. Some lawyers donated to more than one committee.
The three committees are supporting - with one exception - nine candidates competing against other Republicans for seats in the state Senate or House of Representatives. Each committee donated money to these candidates, except for the 7th Amendment Christian Coalition, which chose not to give money to Republican House District 23 candidate Terry O'Donnell, according to campaign reports.
Trial lawyer Clark Brewster has donated a total of $6,500 to the three committees, and several other lawyers from his firm have contributed to the PACs as well.
His firm was built on representing people who have less power, Brewster said. These committees support the candidates who would serve his clients' best interests by protecting their right to have a jury resolve their legal matters, he said.
"We believe that there has been a continuing erosion of constitutional protection, both in the name of the serious attacks on citizens' rights and to get a jury trial," Brewster said. "We feel very strongly in trying to support common-sense responses to the attacks on the liberties of those Americans."
On this issue, at least, an element of the far right and the generally more liberal trial lawyers are united in their opposition to business interests who want to make it harder to win civil lawsuits.
Campaign consultant David Tackett said the groups are donating money to the candidates they believe follow the Constitution.
"Some Republicans think the Constitution ends at the Second Amendment and jumps to the 10th Amendment," Tackett said. "These PACs are putting money together for Republicans challenging what they see as unconstitutional moves by other Republicans."
While the committees have been pumping funds into arch-conservative campaigns, money isn't the only way candidates achieve victory, Tackett said. On Tuesday, candidates who didn't raise the most money will win elections, he said.
"What matters is what the candidates stand for and how successful they got their message to the people," Tackett said. "If they get out there and knock on doors and get their message to the people, they will win."
By the numbers
$19,750: Contributed by Defenders of the Constitution PAC
$22,000: Contributed by 7th Amendment Christian Coalition
$19,750: Contributed by James Madison PAC
District GOP candidate total from 3 committees
HD 39 Bob Dani $7,500
HD 23 Terry O'Donnell $3,000
HD 68 Darren Gantz $12,000
HD 53 Brian Graham $3,000
HD 100 Jeff Renner $3,000
HD 20 Bobby Cleveland $7,500
HD 41 Paul Blair $7,500
HD 60 Dan Fisher $7,500
SD 39 Kevin McDugle $10,500