The most recent Club for Growth related news came from Nevada this week. The Club’s endorsed candidate Sharron Angle refused to accept defeat after losing the primary by 428 votes. Instead of asking for a recount (which she would have to pay) she is now sueing for a revote which would cost Nevada taxpayers approximately $1 million dollar.
Meanwhile the Nevada Republican party is in disarray with the state party chairman supporting Angle’s lawsuit and the rest of the party establishment bashing her.
All across the country the Club for Growth has filed candidates in contentious primaries in an effort to get rid of moderate Republicans. They may succeed in this but it might just not turned out as planned. It looks more and more likely that the Club’s efforts will help Democrats win in unexpected places this November including Nevada, Idaho and Colorado.
I will take a closer look at a couple of the seats targeted by the Club for Growth. But first, here are two stories on the Club for Growth and its behaviour: One moderate Republican down, GOP conservatives set sights on Chafee and Conservative `Club’ Wins With a Broader Battle Plan
Rhode Island Senate:
While it’s understandable that many Republicans, especially the Club for Growth, are not happy with Senator Lincoln Chafee, it’s probably the dumbest move by the Club to challenge him. Doing this they risk losing control of the Senate should Rhode Island be the deciding seat. It seems that this by now has become conventional wisdom as a report by Bloomberg.com published today shows “Chafee Race Increases Risk of Republicans Losing Rhode Island“:
The Sept. 12 primary may determine whether Republicans hang on to the seat — and eventually, the Senate. Polls show Chafee in a dead heat for the general election with Democratic frontrunner Sheldon Whitehouse, 50, a former state attorney general. Steve Laffey, the Cranston mayor who is challenging Chafee in the primary, is running more than 30 percentage points behind Whitehouse, according to a poll released last week by WPRI, a Providence television station.
Democrats need a net gain of six seats in November to win control of the 100-member Senate, and most scenarios for that include capturing Chafee’s.
On their Congressional scorecard Chafee comes in at position 54. It’s really too bad the Club for Growth didn’t decide to challenge Sen. Snowe of Maine who’s ranked below Chafee at 56 or Sen. DeWine of Ohio who is ranked slightly above Chafee at 52. If they had Democrats hopes of regaining majority in the Senate would have been just so much easier.
This is a traditionally Republican seat where Republicans hold a significant voter registration advantage. The seat was created after the 1980 census and has been represented by Republicans since.
Due to incumbent Jim Gibbons running for Governor this year this is an open seat which the Club for Growth wanted to take advantage of. The three way primary featured the incumbents wife Dawn Gibbons, Secretary of State Dean Heller and Club endorsed Sharron Angle. The Club spent about $1 million on this race and Angle still lost by 428 votes. As I said above she is now going to court to get a revote. This is not only splitting the party in two it also leaves Democrat Jill Derby (who has been endorsed by MT Gov Brian Schweitzer and Gen Wesley Clark) with the opportunity to shape her image through an ad campaign and raise money without having to defend herself from Republican attacks. She couldn’t wish for a better scenario right now.
Writes the CQ (who rates this as “Leans Republican”):
Angle’s decision to contest the election — and embroil the state Republican Party in a potentially lengthy and costly battle between two of its own members — could benefit the Democratic candidate, state university regent Jill Derby, in a potentially close general election
More on Angle’s “higher calling” here.
I run a local blog called Turn Tahoe Blue which covers this race on a regular basis.
The Club for Growth has so managed to screw up this one that it not only became competitive but that Kos & Co decided to put Democrat Larry Grant on the Netroots Endorsed list. The Club’s candidate Bill Sali won the primary in this open seat by a low 25.8%. As you have probably read before many Bill Sali has made himself so many enemies in Idaho that there is now a Republicans for Grant movement. Who would’ve ever thought that Idaho might actually be the state that might decide the House majority?
More on this race by mcjoan.
This should’ve been easy. A Republican seat, an open seat, a wide open primary. However, the Club for Growth managed to screw this one up almost as badly as in Idaho. The primary was so nasty that retiring Rep. Hefley refuses to endorse Lamborn saying the primary was “the most sleazy, dishonest campaign I’ve seen in a long, long time.”
Now, Hefley is still weighing whether he will endorse anyone. Either way, Hefley’s flirt with a write in run (which he now says he won’t do) and his public displeasure about Lamborn might just drive many independents and moderate Republicans to either stay home or vote for Netroots Endorsed and Fighting Dem Jay Fawcett.
The Denver Post’s take on this here.
In this case the Club for Growth has actually to defend a seat. Apparently Republicans are having troubles in Indiana:
Rep. Chris Chocola (news, bio, voting record), one of the three at-risk Republicans in Indiana’s House delegation, serves the 2nd Congressional District in northwest Indiana and could also face voter backlash.
“At the beginning of the year, Chocola didn’t look quite as vulnerable as he does today,” said Amy Walter, analyst at the Cook Political Report, which just moved the race into the tossup category in August.
Chocola won election in 2002 with 50% of the vote after long-time Democratic Rep. Tim Roemer, later a member of the 9-11 commission, decided to retire.
I don’t know much about Indiana, so maybe someone in the comments can tell me what the chances of Joe Donnelly are this fall.
This open Republican seat seems like on of the most winnable seats for Democrats this year. So much so that the New York Times has recently profiled it (though just in two paragraphs). This district was won by both Gore and Kerry. That the Republican candidate is endorsed by the Club for Growth can only help. Democrat Ed Perlmutter recently won the primary.
Other races with Club for Growth candidates include:
John Campbell won a special election last year with the top Democrat Steve Young getting just 8.7% in this multiple candidate election. This district is in Orange County. Young is running again this year.
The Club for Growth managed to beat incumbent moderate Republican Joe Schwarz with Tim Walberg. Unfortunately this might be one seat where the Club for Growth will actually succeed with its strategy. The Democratic candidate is Sharon Renier.
This is another open seat where Democrat Scott Kleeb is running against the Club’s Adrian Smith. While this is Nebraska, Kleeb seems to run a smart campaign and is getting quite a bit of press on his local listening tour. (Read local articles here, here and here.)
This seat is being vacated by Republican Mike Oxley. Jim Jordan won the Republican primary. The Democratic candidate is Richard Siferd.