When 94 Percent Isn’t Pure Enough for Conservative Republicans

Nathan L. Gonzales August 6, 2013 · 9:46 AM EDT

Republican state Sen. Mimi Walters has a 94 percent lifetime rating with California’s anti-tax group, but that might not be enough for her to avoid a anti-tax primary challenger as she runs for Congress.

Walters is the early front-runner to replace retiring Rep. John Campbell (click here for Roll Call’s interview with her). And by every traditional measure, she should win the seat easily. But one vote for a Democrat-sponsored tax extension (SB 11) is being viewed as ideological treason by some anti-tax conservatives.

Even though Walters has been a friend for nearly a decade, some fiscal conservatives (including the California-based Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and Americans for Tax Reform) view SB 11 as a tax increase and are searching for an alternative to Walters in the congressional race.

It remains to be seen whether they will be successful. But the fact that Walters isn’t conservative enough for some Republicans is a great example of the civil war within today’s GOP.

California’s 45th District is rated Safe Republican.