Idaho’s Smith wins endorsement of group that backed GOP Senate losers Akin, Mourdock

Another out-of-state interest group is getting involved in Idaho’s 2nd District 2014 GOP primary, this one led by former middle-distance world record holder and former Republican Congressman Jim Ryun of Kansas.

The conservative Washington, D.C.-based Madison Project has endorsed first-time candidate Bryan Smith, an Idaho Falls lawyer, over eight-term Republican Congressman Mike Simpson.

The group has established a website that calls Simpson a “Nancy Pelosi Republican” and pictures Simpson with a scary visage of the House Minority Leader looking over his shoulder. Simpson’s lifetime voting rating with the American Conservative Union is 85 percent. Pelosi’s lifetime rating is 3 percent.

In 2012, the Madison Project political action committee contributed over $98,000 to Republican candidates, including winning Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Senate losers Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana. Extreme statements by Akin and Mourdock cost Republicans two seats they were widely expected to win.

The Madison Project also is targeting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the 2014 primary, for being insufficiently conservative.

Says the group: “Our values are Pro-Life, Pro-Family, Limited Government, Defenders of Religious Freedom. We only endorse candidates who clearly demonstrate their conservatism. We evaluate every Congressional and Senatorial race in America, and our endorsements are only extended to key competitive races which have a strong conservative candidate with the ability to win.”

Smith is the fourth GOP candidate to be endorsed by the Madison Project for 2014. The others are: Matt Bevin, Sen. McConnell’s challenger in Kentucky; Art Halvorson, a challenger to Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa.; and incumbent Congressman Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma.

In its endorsement of Smith, the Madison Project’s Daniel Horowitz repeats a false claim made by Smith and Club for Growth that Simpson favored funding ACORN. Simpson voted 28 times to defund the group.

“As one of the chief appropriators in Washington, Rep. Mike Simpson has never seen a wasteful program he did not want to fund,” said Horowitz in a news release. “From funding the controversial ACORN, sex education, government-run healthcare, bailouts, and corporate welfare, Congressman Simpson has made a career out of frivolously spending taxpayer money.”

The Madison Project becomes the fifth major player expected to pump money into the race, four of them from outside Idaho. Washington-based Club for Growth started the action in July by endorsing Smith. Simpson says he’s planning for the club — which raised $1.1 million on behalf of one-term GOP Rep. Bill Sali, R-Idaho, in 2006 — to raise up to $2 million for Smith.

Also in July, a centrist GOP Super PAC, Main Street Partnership, announced support for Simpson. Former Ohio GOP Congressman Steve LaTourette said his Washington-based group would match Club for Growth “dollar for dollar.”

In August, the Washington-based American Chemistry Council ran pro-Simpson TV ads, which were recycled from 2012.

And late last month the first Idaho-based political action committee got involved, when the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry formed a federal PAC, the Gem State Prosperity Fund, to operate as the federal sister to the group’s state political action committee, the Idaho Prosperity Fund. The spark for starting the new PAC was to help Simpson, said IACI President Alex LaBeau.

The Madison Project announced its endorsement Tuesday in a news release, which follows:

Madison Project PAC Endorses Bryan Smith in Idaho’s Second Congressional District

Washington, D.C .– The Madison Project PAC announced today that it is endorsing Idaho Falls attorney Bryan Simpson for Congress against Representative Mike Simpson in Idaho’s Second Congressional District.

“As one of the chief appropriators in Washington, Rep. Mike Simpson has never seen a wasteful program he did not want to fund,” said Daniel Horowitz of the Madison Project. “From funding the controversial ACORN, sex education, government-run healthcare, bailouts, and corporate welfare, Congressman Simpson has made a career out of frivolously spending taxpayer money.  Most importantly, he continues to refuse to join the current conservative effort to defund Obamacare. And as one of the few red-state Republicans who is weak on issues like abortion, marriage, guns, and immigration – Simpson is clearly out-of-touch with the values of east Idaho.”

“This is why we are proud to endorse Bryan Smith in his bid to replace career politician Mike Simpson,” said Drew Ryun of the Madison Project.  “Bryan Smith has lived the American Dream outside of politics and will bring his much needed private sector experience to the House.  Despite having never held office before, Bryan has fought many important battles to limit and reform government on the local level.  He is exactly the type of candidate we need to send to Washington to shake up the political establishment of both parties.  When Mr. Smith goes to Washington he will impose Idaho values on the federal government instead of the other way around.”

The official endorsement can be viewed here.  Our full report on Mike Simpson’s liberal voting record can be viewed at

The Madison Project supports and raises money for conservative candidates that have demonstrated a commitment to full-spectrum conservatism. The Madison Project website can be found at

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.

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Idaho Politics