The GOP Fears This Conservative Group Could Cost Them Seats In 2024

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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  • Republicans are worried that the Club for Growth’s endorsements could make for chaotic GOP primaries for the Senate in 2024, according to Politico.
  • Club for Growth is backing GOP candidates in West Virginia, Montana and Ohio that counter the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s contenders, and all three states have incumbent Democratic senators.
  • “There’s a lot of work to be done on understanding the main goal is not to make a point on any one political issue, but to win,” Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina told Politico. 

Republicans are concerned that the Club for Growth’s endorsements could create chaotic primaries and cost the GOP several Senate seats in 2024, according to Politico.

The political action committee (PAC) is backing candidates not aligned with the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) in West Virginia, Montana and Ohio, all of which have incumbent Democratic senators, according to Politico. Several top Republicans and allies of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky worry that the Club for Growth’s endorsements of more conservative candidates in these competitive states could decrease their chances of taking the Senate in the 2024 election.

“There’s a lot of work to be done on understanding the main goal is not to make a point on any one political issue, but to win,” Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who the PAC once supported a challenger against, told Politico.

Club for Growth is endorsing West Virginia’s Rep. Alex Mooney for Senate, who will likely go up against Gov. Jim Justice, who has met with the NRSC and is expected to announce a run, according to Politico. The two – who are both competing for a Trump endorsement – are vying to take on Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who has not yet announced his reelection bid.

The PAC is also encouraging Montana’s Rep. Matt Rosendale to run for Senate, while the NRSC is pushing for former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy to take on Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, who announced in February he’s running for reelection, Politico reported. Rosendale, who was supported by Club for Growth in 2018, previously lost to Tester.

“They didn’t do a really great job last time around,” Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah told Politico. “Their folks were underperformers and I just think people are tired of the anger and the vitriol and actually want to see people get along and get some things done.”

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 28: U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MN) speaks at a press conference on the debt limit and the Freedom Caucus’s plan for spending reduction at the U.S. Capitol on March 28, 2023 in Washington, DC. The group of conservative Republicans is proposing making deep cuts to entitlement spending including repealing much of President Joe Biden’s signature Inflation Reduction Act. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

In Ohio, the group is pushing for Ohio’s Rep. Warren Davidson to run for the Senate against Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, though a field of GOP primary challengers is already forming with conservative businessman Bernie Moreno and state Sen. Matt Dolan already announcing bids. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose is also weighing a run.

Club for Growth has also planned to antagonize former President Donald Trump in the primaries, to which the former president has said he isn’t likely to support the PAC’s candidates, Politico reported.

“It goes with the role, because if we weren’t willing to take some incoming and people not liking us, we couldn’t do our job,” David McIntosh, president of Club for Growth, told Politico. (RELATED: The GOP Is Already Tangling Over Who Should Run In 2024)

McIntosh believes it is important to have “both goals” of seeking candidates that mirror the group’s economic conservatism while also taking back the Senate for the GOP, he told Politico.

In February, the PAC held a donor retreat in Palm Beach, Florida, which was headlined by numerous 2024 GOP presidential hopefuls like conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence. Trump, however, was not invited.

“The Club For NO Growth, an assemblage of political misfits, globalists, and losers, fought me incessantly and rather viciously during my presidential run in 2016. They said I couldn’t win, I did, and won even bigger in 2020, with millions of more votes than ‘16, but the Election was Rigged & Stollen. They asked to get together on Endorsements of candidates, we did, and had MANY WINS & NO losses. Relationship broke up over my Endorsement of certain great people in Alabama & Ohio. I won them all!” Trump said in a Truth Social post on Feb. 7.

The Trump-Club for Growth feud began in the 2022 midterms when they backed different candidates, and the PAC released a poll following the election that indicated DeSantis would beat Trump in a Republican primary.

“Senate Leadership Fund, the same group that endorsed Walker, Boldoc, and Oz, is now trying to claim the high ground on candidate selection in a Politico story,” a spokesperson for Club for Growth told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The facts are clear – Senate Leadership Fund doubled down on the worst performing candidates and abandoned conservatives who could have won. Meanwhile, Club for Growth PAC and Action consistently elect effective conservative Republicans in tough races.”

The NRSC didn’t immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to more accurately reflect Club for Growth President David McIntosh’s comments to Politico about reclaiming a Republican majority in the Senate.

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