Conservative advocacy group Club For Growth shows no signs of slowing down its efforts to purge the GOP of alleged moderates, launching a new campaign targeting Republican members of the 113th Congress.
The group’s new site, PrimaryMyCongressman.com, is designed “to raise awareness of Republicans In Name Only (RINOs) who are currently serving in safe Republican seats,” according to a press release announcing its debut this week.
The first round of targets are Reps. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Rick Crawford (R-AR), Frank Lucas (R-OK), Steve Palazzo (R-MS), Martha Roby (R-AL), Larry Buchson (R-IN), Renee Ellmers, (R-NC), and Aaron Schock (R-IL).
“Big government liberals inhabit the Democratic Party, but they are far too common within the Republican Party as well,” Chris Chocola, president of Club For Growth, said in a statement on Wednesday. “The Republicans helped pass billions of dollars in tax increases and they have repeatedly voted against efforts by fiscal conservatives to limit government. PrimaryMyCongressman.com will serve as a tool to hold opponents of economic freedom and limited government accountable for their actions.”
Needless to say, the group’s new targets aren’t too pleased with their newfound label. Schock’s office said in a statement that “Club for Growth’s endgame is for Congress to become even more strident and gridlocked.” Chocola responded with a letter labeling him a a “pro-stimulus spending, pro-ObamaCare, pro-debt limit increase, pro-tax increase, pro-labor ‘Republican.’”
The new campaign comes as top Republican strategists, including Karl Rove, are launching their own effort, the Conservative Victory Project, to fund primary candidates they believe have the best shot of winning, citing Senate losses in states like Missouri last year, where Todd Akin’s remarks about rape handed incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) an easy victory.
“We’ve given away at least five seats in the last two election cycles, maybe more, because of poor candidates,” Rove, who is leading the project, said at a conference in Texas this week. “Our donors said, ‘We’re happy to write big checks, but we’re sick and tired of writing checks for campaign that can’t win.’”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.