Still, recent surveys show Brown is one of the most popular politicians in the state. The $7 million he has in the bank already will give him a leg up, as well.
Wheeler openly acknowledges that trying to elect a more conservative Republican is likely to cost the GOP the seat. But, he says, the damage done by Brown's votes hurt more than holding the seat helps.
"We understand, coming from Massachusetts, he isn't going to vote on a lot of issues the way we'd like. We understand that. But if he's not going to vote for any issue, what's the point of having him? Why not have a Democrat there?" Wheeler asked. "That way we don't have the name Republican being used as a shield when the Democratic ruinous policies blow up."
Wheeler has promised to use his PAC to derail other centrist members, most notably those who voted in favor of the stimulus bill. He claims credit for forcing former Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) out of the Republican primary in 2010, and he says Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) is next. Snowe "doubled down" by also voting for New START, Wheeler said.
No credible Republican has stepped forward to take on either Brown or Snowe. Wheeler said he would be making a trip to the northeast soon, in order to identify and recruit candidates.