Club for Growth targets Idaho Rep. Simpson for defeat in 2014

The anti-tax group that bankrolled one-term Congressman Bill Sali’s 2006 campaign says Idaho’s 8-term GOP Rep. Simpson is among nine “Republicans in Name Only” it aims to unseat in 2014 primaries.

Club for Growth spent $1.1 million on behalf of former Idaho GOP Rep. Bill Sali in the 2006 primary and general elections, about half of all the money spent on his behalf. Sali won that race, but lost to Democrat Walt Minnick in 2008. Current Rep. Raul Labrador defeated Minnick in 2010.

Simpson had a challenge from the right in both 2008 and 2010 from tea party favorite Chick Heileson. Simpson won with 58 percent in a four-way race in 2010. In a head-to-head with Heileson in 2012, Simpson won 70 percent to 30 percent.

In a news release, Club for Growth announced a new website targeting the nine Republicans, with Simpson listed first.

The group promises to target more “liberal” Republicans in the 2014 election cycle.

“Big government liberals inhabit the Democratic Party, but they are far too common within the Republican Party as well,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. “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.”

Simpson’s spokeswoman, Nikki Watts, said Club for Growth misrepresents Simpson’s conservative record, which includes an 85 percent lifetime voting record from the oldest conservative rating group in the country, the American Conservative Union. In 2012, Simpson scored 80 percent on ACU’s list of 25 votes, while Labrador scored 96 percent.

National Journal, a non-partisan publisher which has compiled voting records for decades, said Simpson ranked 201st-most conservative in the 435-member House in 2012, based on 120 votes on economic, social and foreign policy. Labrador was 189th. In 2011, Simpson was ranked No. 137, Labrador No. 174.

“Congressman Simpson’s 2012 score puts him right in the middle of a group of solid Republicans including Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy,” Watts said in a statement. “The Club for Growth’s scorecard, however, is arbitrary and looks at a very narrow group of votes among the hundreds of votes cast each year.  Therefore, we don’t believe it presents an accurate view of Congressman Simpson’s voting record or, for that matter, anyone else’s voting record.  In fact, the American Conservative Union named Congressman Simpson one of its 2012 “ACU Conservatives” based on a broader look at his voting record and the NRA recently gave him an A+ rating.”

The Club for Growth news release follows:

 

Club for Growth Action Launches PrimaryMyCongressman.Com

Club for Growth President Chris Chocola: “PrimaryMyCongressman.com will serve as a tool to hold opponents of economic freedom and limited government accountable for their actions.”

Washington, DC – Today, Club for Growth Action launched a new website, www.PrimaryMyCongressman.com. The purpose of the website is to raise awareness of Republicans In Name Only (RINOs) who are currently serving in safe Republican seats. In many of the Congressional districts highlighted, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney received over 60% of the votes for President in 2012, but the incumbent Congressman has a lifetime rating of less than 70% on the Club for Growth’s Congressional Scorecard, which measures the commitment of lawmakers to limiting government and free markets.

The website will offer Club members and the general public the opportunity to recommend primary opponents to the incumbents highlighted by Club for Growth Action, as well as to recommend primary challengers for any Republican member of Congress.

Club for Growth Action will rotate liberal Republicans through the website to highlight their failed records on limiting government. To start, the following Republican members are highlighted:

·        Rep. Mike Simpson (ID-02) Lifetime Club for Growth Rating: 58%; Romney % of Vote: 64%

·        Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) Lifetime Club for Growth Rating: 56%; Romney % of Vote: 53%

·        Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-01) Lifetime Club for Growth Rating: 56%; Romney % of Vote: 61%

·        Rep. Frank Lucas (OK-03) Lifetime Club for Growth Rating: 68%; Romney % of Vote: 74%

·        Rep. Steve Palazzo (MS-04) Lifetime Club for Growth Rating: 69%; Romney % of Vote: 68%

·        Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02) Lifetime Club for Growth Rating: 69%; Romney % of Vote: 63%

·        Rep. Larry Bucshon (IN-08) Lifetime Club for Growth Rating: 68%; Romney % of Vote: 58%

·        Rep. Renee Ellmers (NC-02) Lifetime Club for Growth Rating: 66%; Romney % of Vote: 57%

·        Rep. Aaron Schock (IL-18) Lifetime Club for Growth Rating: 61%; Romney % of Vote: 61%

“Big government liberals inhabit the Democratic Party, but they are far too common within the Republican Party as well,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. “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.”

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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