Club for Growth

SC-03: Massey Endorses Duncan

I am proud and honored to have recently received the endorsement from my dear friend and fellow conservative, state Senator Shane Massey.


The following is a statement from Senator Shane Massey:

“When I decided last year to run for Congress, I did so, in large part, out of a frustration with what America has become. I am deeply concerned about irresponsible borrowing and spending, excessive government involvement in private affairs, and an elitist, out-of-touch Congress that seems to care very little about what the average American wants.”

“Although I am no longer a candidate for Congress, my concern about the direction of this country has not changed.  But correcting that course will not be easy.  It will require strong and consistent conservative leaders who will fight to shake up the Washington establishment with commons sense solutions.”

“We are fortunate in this congressional race to have several decent and well-qualified candidates.  I’ve gotten to know them all over the past year, and I consider them all friends.  But I get to vote for just one, and I intend to vote for Rep. Jeff Duncan.”

“With Jeff, what you see is what you get.  He talks frequently of his commitment to end the borrowing and spending binge in Washington and his determination to protect the values South Carolinians hold dear.  And that’s not just campaign rhetoric.  Jeff has been a consistent conservative during his service in the S.C. House of Representatives.  He’s been endorsed by the fiscally conservative National Club for Growth.  In fact, Jeff is one of just eleven candidates in the nation along with Sen. Jim DeMint to receive that endorsement.”

“We need Jeff’s brand of leadership and character in Washington.  I’m proud to support him for the 3rd Congressional District nomination, and I encourage others to do so, as well.”

Senator Massey represents Aiken, Edgefield, Saluda, and McCormick in the South Carolina State Senate.

To read more on Sen. Massey’s endorsement and local and national reaction please go to




An exception to Ruffini's "self-funder" rule

Awhile back, Patrick Ruffini made some excellent points as to the limitations of self-funding candidates and why they fail as a "quick fix" for candidare recruitment.

I generally agree.  Self-funders have a weak track record and generally confuse quantity of message for quality of message. And yes, they do tend to be at best faux conservatives.  Given a credible opponent that worked his way up the political ladder, I'll take a successful survivor of political Darwinism over a sui generis candidate almost any day of the week.   

However, Ruffini's central thesis presupposes that the state's overall Republican environment is capable of generating credible candidates on its own.  In at least one state, this is clearly not true, and the two party system has broken down.

In NY State, the decision of former Mayor Giuliani to stand down from elective office has left the party in a quandary, as the NY Post now believes the highly vulnerable Kirsten Gillibrand may draw a merely nominal opponent in 2010---despite the fact the ObamaCare plan could well decimate the state's already depleted coffers.. 

The New York Times writes an obituary of the Republican Party every week or so, but this recent account of the woes of the NY State party was actually pretty reasonable in tone and based on actual events. 

It has come to this for the party of such electoral lions as Rudolph W. Giuliani, George E. Pataki and Alfonse M. D’Amato: a rookie Democrat, Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand — largely unknown to the public and unloved by some in her own party — faces her first election to the seat in November. But Republicans have been unable to land a marquee name to run against her

The Times cites some possibilities against Gillibrand---former LI State Senator Michael Balboni (who would have been an intriguing pick had he not quit to join ....ummm... Eliot Spitzer's cabinet);a failed Comptroller candidate, and the Mayor of a Westchester village smaller than Wasilla, AK.

Frankly, this is looking more like the war horses trotted out to lose in 2006 than any replica of D'Amato and Pataki. And this race might be closer than people think. Even the Schumer race might be interesting In 1994  Bernadette Castro (a furniture heiress) held the illustrious Daniel P. Moynihan to an underwhelming performance.

Patrick would probably suggest shaking the backbenches of the state legislature. But the root cause of the demise of the NYS GOP has to be blamed on their legislative caucus. In some places this is where future leaders develop,  in the past decade Albany's dysfunctional legislative branch has churned  out one clunker after another.  Who are the role models? The now convicted Joe Bruno, or Dean Skelos, mastermind of the disasterous Senate coup attempt reliant on two ethically challenged NYC Democrats? Current or former GOP legislators lost the following House races: 20th; 23rd;  24th; and 29th.  The one upstate seat they hold (26) was because the Erie County GOP had the good sense to locate a local businessman to run without having set foot in Albany first. 

Perhaps by 2014 some of the younger legislators or the newly elected suburban County Executives in Nassau and Westchester will be ready for prime time. But in the here and now it is apparent that the Christopher Lee example in the 26th District is the better example for conservatives in New York.

The new NYS GOP chairman, Ed Cox, ought to start getting on the horn and tracking down high net worth New Yorkers with a track record of supporting the conservative agenda--at least the economic part of the equation.  Are there no Club for Growth benefactors itching to get in the game?

The other reason for self-funders is NY is the quintessential tabloid media state. This state--especially downstate--rewards the brash and outspoken, while the political insiders tend to wilt in statewide contests.     

I use New York as an example as it perhaps is the worst example of Republican establishment dry rot out there at the moment.  But as the 3rd largest state, and still the nation's media capitol, it's not like a place like Rhode Island or Vermont that could repeal the Republican Party altogether with no national impact.  Sure , we can win without New York. But , like Frankie said, if you can make it there you can make it anywhere. And the stage is where one gets noticed. 

So, I'll take up the cause of the self-funder as the necessary evil to prevent one-party governance. If the party has failed, only individuals can succeed.

Right now there are two nominations for the U.S. Senate up for grabs in the Empire State.  Why not auction off the nominations? Could it be worse than running some old-time hack eager for some glory before he ends his career? Methinks not.     

CT Senate 2010: Is the "Club" inviting in Sam Caligiuri?

In the wake of NY 23  all eyes pointed to the Club for Growth to ascertain where they would jump in next to promote fiscally conservative candidates. And in light of this article, one wonders if they have CT in mind as one of their next venues  

Beyond Florida, other establishment Republicans may be looking over their shoulders. Chocola, a former House Republican from Indiana, noted that he served with Rep. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) and former Rep. Rob Simmons (R., Conn.), both running for the Senate.

“They’re both good guys, but they don’t fit the bill as Club for Growth candidates,” he said.

Before his organization decides to jump in, however, he said the group has to see how those races develop, and whether a clear “Club” alternative surfaces.

“The best Kirk and Simmons can expect is that we leave them alone,” Chocola said.

So, Simmons, who has had to revise prior positions on cap and trade; as well as card check, and recently made a rather conciliatory statement on the public option, might find himself not just  overlooked by the fiscal conservative masterminds, but even challenged by a serious committment of time and resources by the Club.  The Club may not always succeed, but their targets are always aware the Club tried.

So, who would the Club for Growth think would be a viable opponent for Chris Dodd?  Who is fiscally conservative enough to warrant their support, a candidate capable of actually winning against Dodd in the general election, and a candidate who actually could use their support?.

There are four other Republicans in the U.S. Senate race besides Simmons. I believe we can write off two names.  Linda McMahon is , of course, "the Wild RINO". Besides, why should the Club send some of its limited money to CT to subsidize a self-funding billionaire? 

Peter Schiff, the former Ron Paul advisor, is certainlly in favor of limited government, but his agenda is so doctrinaire as to make him a very poor investment of Club resources. Perhaps Idaho is ready for 180 proof libertarianism; CT, not so much. Besides, his campaign to date has just done moneybombs and has no traction on the ground.

That leaves Tom Foley and Sam Caligiuri. Foley has been running cute ads with babies, but he's never run a political campaign and whether he can win an election is an open question.

There's one candidate running in CT right now who a) has a proven record of fiscal conservatism and b) has a proven record of winning elections. That's Sam Caligiuri.


2010 might be exactly the year to run a state senator who stood up against a Governor in his own party to vote "no" on an ultimately disasterous state budget. And that made Sam Caligiuri the only CT State Senator to oppose a budget that left the state in a huge deficit. 

It might also be a good year to run a candidate who won a formerly Democratic legislative seat in the Democratic tsunami of 2006.      

And given the issue environment, it might make sense to run a candidate praised for his ability on the stump and described as a "proud Reagan Republican"

I have no idea what the decision making processes at the Club are. Certaintly Rob Simmons is a far cry from the elasticity of Charlie Crist--Simmons is a good guy and generally helpful to other Republicans.  But the Club is looking for alternative to the "Certified Pre-Owned Candidates".

Sam Caligiuri is the sort of guy they would be looking at in Connecticut. And, they did sound like they wanted to play, now didn't they?


AK-AL Update: Why Sean Parnell Lost

The final numbers are in. Congressman Don Young has won the highest turnout primary (40.6%) in Alaska's history by 304 votes. Because the margin is less than 0.5%, Sean Parnell was afforded the right to a state-funded recount. Instead, the lieutenant governor conceded today and said in a statement that because his campaign was based on "treating taxpayer dollars with more respect and greater care," the margin does not justify "an expenditure of taxpayer funds." Here's exactly how close it was:

  • LEDOUX, Gabrielle: 9901 votes - 9.34%
  • PARNELL, Sean: 47891 votes - 45.19%
  • YOUNG, Don: 48195 votes - 45.47%

While I still won't disclose who I voted for because of my previous position within the Alaska Republican Party, I do know there are a lot of readers and writers on The Next Right that were fans and supporters of Sean Parnell. I've made some of the following points before, but they need to be made again in order to give a full analysis of why I believe Sean Parnell lost. And, yes, like a fellow Alaskan political operative repeated to me today, "Don didn't win. Sean lost."

AK-AL: Club for Growth drops hammer on Don Young

The Club for Growth just dropped a huge amount of coin in Alaska to help Sean Parnell. $350k for 2 weeks, the largest independent expenditure in a federal race in Alaska history, according to one AK operative. Here's the ad:

CfG has taken care of the negative. Now go help Sean Parnell with the positive. Give money to Sean Parnell.

AK-1: Club Unleashes Ads Against Don Young

Two :15 spots from on Don Young and the gas tax. If Young had his way, it would be $5 gas.

Time to give the boot to the AFL-CIO's favorite Republican by supporting Sean Parnell. And if you need some more convincing, watch this:

McCain's Choice: For Love or For Money?

The Hill has an interesting article on the Club for Growth's involvement or lack thereof in the Presidential campaign. The Club for Growth could get involved for McCain or they could sit out. The big difference:

Toomey also stressed that McCain’s vice presidential pick will help influence the Club’s decision.

“I think it’s very important,” he said. “It’ll be an important signal, indicating whether he wants to help consolidate the Republican coalition and energize the base of the party or not.”

The Club feels very strongly about South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R), whose name comes up often among those speculating on McCain’s short list. Toomey also suggested in a February Wall Street Journal column that Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) and businessman Steve Forbes would make strong vice presidential candidates — a slate of names less frequently mentioned, if at all.

The Club for Growth seems to be taking the stance that if America's electing a 71 year-old cancer survivor, then the real future of the country lies with the Veep. While the other names mentioned are quite farfetched (Steve Forbes and Phil Gramm? What is this? 1996.) Sanford has currency and I think he's the desire of Club insiders.

Andy Roth on the Club blog went after Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for banning text messaging and watching videos while driving and then pointed to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal refusing to fight a legislative pay increase. They actually released a full fledged hit on Jindal's conservative credentials from Nachema Soloveichik. It's clear, they want a governor and they'd like Sanford.

I've met Mark Sanford and he is a fabulous guy, let there be no question about this.  He would be a great President. I think he has absolutely nothing to do with these games the CFG is playing, but it's clear that they want him to be Veep and don't mind knocking people off the road to get that result.

This brings a very interesting choice to John McCain. If he places Sanford on the ticket, his campaign coffers are sure to swell from CFG members who would love to see Mark Sanford a heartbeat from the Presidency. Not only that but as a 527 could be counted out to pound Obama with millions inunds from the last loophole for free speech, McCain left in McCain-Feingold.

Money is key for McCain. The FEC has a map that lays the numbers bear. McCain trials Obama badly in fundraising by 2.93:1 margin. Put another way. If you added the total funds raised by Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Fred Thompson to McCain's total, he'd still trail Obama in fundraising by $30 million. Given that money is the mother's milk of politics, McCain's in trouble on that front, and a Sanford pick would close the gap.

The problem with Sanford is that he's unknown by all but a few political geeks like me. I realized this when I mentioned him on the Michael Reagan show, Reagan thought the guy was still in Congress. Given that few people know of him, it'd be very hard to fix the widespread problems McCain has with conservatives.

Then, you have Mike Huckabee who could shore up McCain's sagging base among Evangelicals and in America's heartland. While, he wouldn't bring  gobs of money along, he would bring volunteers who would work the campaign hard, and really believe in it. Most of Huck's Army would do everything they could for McCain/Huckabee.

However, the Club for Growth would spend money to elect Mike Huckabee Vice-President about the time I'd cheer for the San Francisco Giants, and so McCain would be cash-strapped.

So for love or for money?

Or what about somewhere in between? Mitt Romney would bring a little bit of money. (Not as much as the Club would for Sanford) and a little bit of love. But how much of this will add up to foot soldiers is questionable and Romney has a lot of detractors.

Of course the most likely result is that McCain goes with neither Sanford nor Huckabee, nor Romney either. Which will leave him with neither a huge amount of love or money from the Veep choice.

And neither Social Conservatives or Economic Conservatives will get what they want. There's a lesson in there for us if we'll learn it.

Black Conservatives for Obama?

Podcast Show Notes

Obama the Pooh: A chief Obama foreign policy adviser shares his basis for foreign policy.

McCain plays politics on the Windfall Oil Tax.

Why are Black Conservatives trending towards Obama?

The consensus on Offshore Drilling. (Hat Tip: Clayton Cramer.)

The Club for Growth applies the Sanford standard to Governor Sarah Palin (R-Alaska.) and attacks Bobby Jindal (R-Louisiana)

The homosexual activist plan on gay marriage: slow boiling the frog. (Hat Tip: Pam’s House Blend.)

Click here to listen, click here to download.

Clear Out the Deadwood

[Promoted - I think the Right would do well to fix its own house first.  Internicine warfare is unfortunate....and unfortunately necessary.   The GOP needs to clean its own house before it can ever be trusted with the people's House.   That doesn't just mean primarying Republicans, though; it also means Republican Senators and Representatives need to start encouraging and supporting primary challengers.   Until they put their personal political capital behind reform, they're just status quo Republicans - Jon Henke]


The process of truly remaking the GOP into a party that the grassroots can be proud of again requires a step that was more complicated in 2006 when there was still a majority to worry about:  cheering the electoral confrontation of Republican Members of Congress currently doing more harm than good to the conservative cause.

That inevitably becomes a debatable filter and people can disagree about  the primary cause of the party's 2006 losses, ranging from over-spending, the Iraq War, and the stench of assorted scandals.  Regardless of the ultimate ranking of those problems, however, zeal among some significant Republicans in Congress to continue obnoxious spending practices is not only bad policy, it was - and is - a significant annoyance to the conservative grassroots.

As such, it is difficult to do anything but applaud the increasing critical mass in a primary challenge to uber-purveyor of pork, Don Young.  The Club for Growth has its critics on the right at  times given their aggressive efforts in some Republican primary contests.  Yet, their vigorous opposition to Young is a welcome sign in the bigger picture of the spring-cleaning the still needs to occur in the Capitol Hill Republican Caucuses.

Syndicate content