A consulting firm run by Ted Cruz’s former campaign manager is actively working to defeat a House Freedom Caucus member who is up for reelection despite strong claims to the contrary, a conservative consultant who previously worked for the firm claims.
“It’s total bull—-,” consultant Noel Fritsch told Business Insider of Jeff Roe’s claims that his firm, Axiom Strategies, was not involved in efforts to oust Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas from office.
In 2014, Axiom Strategies, which Roe founded and owns, worked with a super PAC to spend more than $230,000 against Huelskamp, according to Federal Election Commission documents.
But when Cruz was trying to court Huelskamp for a 2016 endorsement during Cruz’s presidential campaign, Roe and his group insisted they would lay off. Cruz has also endorsed Huelskamp in his reelection bid.
“I can confirm that Now or Never PAC, which attacked you in 2014, and with whom my firms work on a regular basis, also will not expend any funds in your election,” Roe wrote in a letter to the conservative congressman in December.
He added: “Instead of opposing you in 2016, I would like instead to thank you for your principled, conservative leadership in Washington and your strong work on behalf of Kansans in the Big First District.”
But Fritsch said he briefly did third-party work for Axiom Strategies as an “audition” to score a job there and was surprised to learn that what Roe said on record didn’t appear to be true.
“One of the things they are talking about is bragging about funding the challenge to Huelskamp,” he said. “I think conservatives need to know.”
According to National Review, the Chamber of Commerce targeted Huelskamp because of his vocal opposition to House Republican leadership. For instance, when John Boehner resigned as House speaker, Huelskamp tweeted, “Today the establishment lost.”
This cycle, Huelskamp faces a credible primary threat from Dr. Roger Marshall. The state’s primary is in August, and Fritsch says Axiom Strategies is actively working against Huelskamp.
“Not only are they not helping conservative challengers to incumbents – they are actually targeting good guys for removal,” Fritsch said. “That’s who they are.”
Fritsch said Roe’s group was “harnessing the high-dollar donors” in Huelskamp’s race and “engineering the spending” against him.
“I would bet money that Ted Cruz knows about it,” he added.
“I want people to be honest,” Fritsch said. “Cruz is out there saying, ‘I am doing it for conservative principles.’ No, you’re not.”
Fritsch told Business Insider he hoped Cruz would “distance himself from mercenary, establishment consultants like Jeff Roe” who “work against American interests by targeting strong conservatives like Huelskamp.”
Cruz and Huelskamp declined requests for comment from Business Insider. Roe did not respond to both email and phone inquiries.