Washington Examiner: Offshoot of Never Trump group to monitor ‘extremist’ candidates

By David M. Drucker

The Never Trump group Stand Up Republic is launching an effort to monitor and spotlight “extremists” running for office in 2022, with an additional focus on candidates who peddle dangerous conspiracies.

“Rise of the Radicals” was unveiled Thursday, the anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, ransacking of the United States Capitol, by Stand Up Republic, an early group formed by Republican operatives to oppose former President Donald Trump. This new project, operating as a 501(c)3 and described as a “public awareness initiative,” plans to research candidates’ backgrounds and positions and “educate” voters about those who hold extremist views and traffic in “anti-democratic” conspiracy theories.

“An alarming trend is emerging in the 2022 election cycle: a new field of extremist candidates are seeking elected office — from school boards to the U.S. Congress,” Miles Taylor, co-founder and executive director of Renew America Movement, the Stand Up Republican offshoot under which Rise of the Radicals is operating. “Our goal is to equip voters with a real-time accounting of these candidates, where they are running, and the fringe ideas they promote.”

The press release announcing Rise of the Radicals made no mention of Democrats or Republicans. But the initiative is likely to focus on GOP candidates.

The operatives behind Stand Up Republic and its affiliated groups are generally disaffected Republicans who oppose Trump and worry about the impact his unsupported claims that the 2020 election was stolen are having on the country. These concerns were further pronounced by the riot at the U.S. Capitol last Jan. 6, when grassroots Trump supporters stormed the building to prevent Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

In the year since, even mainstream Republicans have backed Trump’s assertions about the 2020 election, with the issue becoming a litmus test in some 2022 primaries. The Rise of the Radicals says some Republicans running for office this year are promoting narratives even more concerning, and the group plans to begin publishing their names and the positions they hold online and on social media platforms later this month.

This effort will continue regularly throughout the year.

“We’re not releasing any of the results ahead of time, but I can say it includes both recognizable names and more obscure figures, many of whom are leading candidates in districts or states which lean heavily in their favor,” said Melissa Amour, a spokeswoman for the group. “In some ways, that is the reason for the report. Radical candidates are rising in U.S. politics and poised to become a larger faction in their parties and in legislatures.”

Candidate research has been underway for the past few months but will now accelerate, although Amour emphasized that “it is not opposition research, and will not directly advocate for the election or defeat of any candidate.” She declined to disclose how much money or other resources Stand Up Republic and the Renew America Movement are devoting to Rise of the Radicals.

In a series of statements Thursday, Trump dismissed criticism of his handling of the post-election period and Jan. 6 as unfair and inaccurate. “America is a laughingstock stock of the world, and it’s all because of the real insurrection, which took place on November 3rd,” the former president said.

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