Republican Main Street Partnership
|President, CEO||Sarah Chamberlain|
|Headquarters||Washington, D.C., U.S.|
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in the United States
The Republican Main Street Partnership is a 501(c)(4) organization that was allied with the congressional Republican Main Street Caucus. The Partnership continues to exist, but the Caucus was dissolved by its members in February 2019.
The Chairman Emeritus and Founder of the group was now-deceased former Congressman Amo Houghton of New York.
The Republican Main Street Partnership was formed following the 1994 House elections in which conservative Republicans were swept into power. An informal discussion group formed by representatives Nancy Johnson, Steve Gunderson and Fred Upton later became somewhat of an organized bloc intent on representing the moderate wing of the Republican Party, with the organization describing itself as a "broad alliance of centrist Republicans."
The Republican Main Street Partnership allied with other moderate Republican groups, including Christine Todd Whitman's It's My Party Too, Ann Stone's Republicans for Choice, the Log Cabin Republicans, the Republican Majority for Choice, The Wish List, Republicans for Environmental Protection, the Mainstream Republicans of Washington and the Kansas Traditional Republican Majority.
They were sometimes swing votes on spending bills and as a result have gained influence in Congress out of proportion to their numbers. They are frequently sought after to broker compromises between the Democratic and Republican leadership, generally lending a more center-right character to US politics.
Members of the Republican Main Street Partnership were often challenged in Republican primaries by members from the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and the Tea Party movement, among others. The Club for Growth has used the pejorative term RINO (Republicans In Name Only) to describe opponents such as the Republican Main Street Partnership that it feels are not conservative enough. According to the director of the Republican Main Street Partnership, the Club for Growth and its agenda are "not representative of the Republican Party" and the Republican Main Street Partnership "raise[s] money on a daily basis to defeat" members of the Club for Growth.
In 2004, the group attempted to propose changes to moderate the Republican Party's platform regarding abortion and stem-cell research.
On September 7, 2017, members formed the Republican Main Street Caucus with Pat Tiberi (OH–12) as Chair. After Tiberi's resignation from the House in 2018, Rodney Davis (IL–13) took over duties as Chair.
After the 2018 United States House of Representatives elections, the Democratic Party won the majority of the seats in the House of Representatives, gaining a net total of 41 seats from two years prior, their largest gain of House seats in an election since the 1974 elections.
On November 28, 2018, the Republican Main Street Caucus met with the Republican Main Street Partnership to ask why the Partnership's SuperPAC still had $722,000 unspent, rather than spending that money on competitive races to keep its members in office. The Partnership's chief executive officer, Sarah Chamberlain, said that $6 million had been spent on 2018 campaigns, and that the remaining $722,000 was set aside for 2020. Members of the Caucus were concerned that Chamberlain's compensation was 20 percent of the Partnership's operating expenses.
The following month, the Caucus asked Chamberlain how the Caucus had spent its money to help its members' races. Chamberlain referenced an organization, Women2Women, that was part of the Partnership's network that many Caucus members had never heard of, spurring questions about Chamberlain's leadership. The Caucus voted unanimously to suspend political activity with the Partnership until an independent audit of the Partnership's governance could be conducted. The Partnership declined to be audited, saying it was a private organization, independent of the Caucus, and that the Caucus had no right to request an audit.
The members of the Caucus voted to dissolve itself in February 2019. Some of its members decided to join the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. The Partnership continues to exist.
There are currently five U.S. Senators and 70 House Representatives affiliated with the group.