The Club for Growth is a right-wing organization that helps far-right conservatives win election; in fact, they love to torpedo moderate Republican incumbents by running radical conservatives against them in primaries.
But The Club’s record of success isn’t so hot; let’s look at their results for this year:
- AZ-03: Shadegg (Non-competitive incumbent)
- CO-05: Lamborn (Non-competitive incumbent)
- GA-10: Broun (Non-competitive incumbent)
- NJ-05: Garrett (Non-competitive incumbent)
- CO-06: Coffman (Non-competitive non-incumbent)
- MN-06: Bachmann (Competitive incumbent)
- CA-04: McClintock (Competitive non-incumbent)
- TX-22: Olson (Competitive non-incumbent)
- AZ-05: Schweikert (Competitive non-incumbent)
- CA-11: Andal (Competitive non-incumbent)
- PA-10: Hackett (Competitive non-incumbent)
- CO-SEN: Schaffer (Competitive non-incumbent)
- NM-SEN: Pearce (Competitive non-incumbent)
- MD-01: Harris (Competitive non-incumbent)
- MI-07: Walberg (Competitive incumbent)
- ID-01: Sali (Competitive incumbent)
- NH-SEN: Sununu (Competitive incumbent)
So, in 2008 they had an 8-9 record.
But 5 of their wins weren’t in competitive districts; in fact, 4 out of those 5 were incumbents who would have gotten re-elected even without The Club’s support. One of their wins–Michele Bachmann–was also an incumbent, but she was barely re-elected. In the end, The Club only won 2 races where their chosen candidates were competitive non-incumbents.
Out of their losses, though, 6 were toss-up races and 3 were incumbents who lost their seats. The two names highlighted above in red are candidates who had defeated moderate Republicans in primaries only to lose those seats to Democrats.
See, that’s the problem with pushing ideological purity–you end up backing people who can’t possibly win their district. Ideological groups should back the person closest to their beliefs who can still win in the district.
But, by all means, let The Club continue what they’re doing; I can’t wait until every moderate Republican is replaced by a Democrat.