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Big Business Tries to Unseat the Tea Party

But the public trusts executives even less than politicians
The U.S. House of Representatives chamber in Washington
The U.S. House of Representatives chamber in WashingtonPhotograph by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Michigan Representative Justin Amash arrived in Congress in 2011 as a darling of the Tea Party movement and hasn’t disappointed the faithful. He’s never missed a vote. He told House Speaker John Boehner that he wasn’t welcome in his Grand Rapids district. On Oct. 1 he stood with fellow Republicans who forced the government to shut down.

The shutdown, and the default scare that ensued, widened the fissure between Tea Party Republicans and the business establishment. Now business groups are considering fielding their own candidates in the 2014 Republican primaries and redirecting their ample resources to deposing Tea Party stalwarts like Amash. “We are going to get engaged,” says Scott Reed, senior political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent more than $35 million on elections in 2012, the vast majority of it on behalf of Republicans. “The need is now more than ever to elect people who understand the free market and not silliness.”