Membership Has Its Privileges
11-17-2009
Here is a rather timely update, courtesy of Politico, to yesterday’s post on potential Club for Growth activity in New Hampshire’s Congressional races. The article provides a broad overview of the group and its strategy for the 2010 midterm elections, and notes that a possible endorsement in our U.S. Senate race is in the offing, although the group doesn’t tip its hand. We also learn that the Club for Growth spent over $1 million in a little over 30 days in the contest for New York’s 23rd district, which gives you a good sense of its willingness to invest in high-profile races.
 
From the reaction of the candidates mentioned in the piece, it is pretty clear that they view a Club for Growth endorsement as accomplishing two potential objectives. The first is to garner some cred for candidate claims of outsider status – that is the desire to be seen as not having connections to Republican institutional elites in Washington. Second, the group offers a purity test of sorts for candidate claims of fiscal conservatism. Those not meeting Club standards are likely to find life in their Republican primary contest a bit more complicated.
 
It is not necessarily the endorsement (or lack thereof) itself that makes the difference here, but the signal it sends to other national conservative groups declaring open season on one or more candidates in a targeted primary. Combine that with the Club’s willingness to spend lots of its own money on issue advocacy ads, and you can see why the group is getting so much attention from candidates and the media alike, especially now that the National Republican Senatorial Committee has said it will stay out of contested open primaries.


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