Moderate Republican Group To Drop "Republican" From Its Name, Welcome Conservative Dems

Owen Poindexter
The "Republican Main Street Partnership" is now just the "Main Street Partnership," and the group will reach out to centrist Democrats, in a sign that moderate Republicans are an endangered species.

In 2013, the Main Street Partnership will be run by Steve LaTourette (above) and will drop the "Republican" from its name and reach out to centrist Democrats. PHOTO: AP

If you needed more evidence that moderate Republicans, at least ones that hold elected office, are an endangered species, here it is: the group Republican Main Street Partnership, which has the mission of promoting moderate Republicans, is dropping the "Republican" part of their name and mission. They will now simply be the "Main Street Partnership," and they will reach out to Blue Dog Democrats, and others who are near the middle of the Democrat-Republican divide, regardless of party affiliation.

Main Street Partnership Chairperson Stephen LaTourette, who resigned from Congress (he represented Ohio as a Republican in the House of Representatives), explained the shift:

"The goal is to try and fill the void that is the middle. The American political system is like a doughnut: You've got sides, but you don't have anything in the middle and it would be my goal to work with Republicans and Democrats who want to find the path forward to getting things done and compromise."

The Main Street Partnership has some weight to throw around: it runs a super PAC, called "Defending Main Street," which supports moderate Republicans, and will now also support centrist Democrats.

Here's another thing that the Main Street Partnership might consider supporting in the hopes of getting more moderates elected: top-two primaries. This is an electoral reform voted into law in California in 2010, which allows voters to select any candidate they like in the primary and then the top two vote-getters face each other in the general election, regardless of party. In, for example, a Republican district, this would shift elections to being less about who can win a primary with a more hard-right stance, and more about who can build a broad base, so that voters might be selecting between a far-right Republican and a moderate Republican in the general election. The same, of course, would be true for Democratic districts.