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Club for Growth Pans Capito

photo of Julie Sobel
November 26, 2012

Turns out not everyone is excited for Shelley Moore Capito to run for Senate.

Shortly after the GOP congresswoman threw her hat into the West Virginia Senate race, the Club for Growth made it clear they aren't in her corner, sending out a statement asking "Is Shelly Moore Capito the 'right' kind of Republican U.S. Senate Candidate?"

In a statement, Club for Growth PAC President Chris Chocola notes Senate candidates that were supported by the GOP -- but not endorsed by the Club -- who lost in 2010: Reps. Denny Rehberg and Rick Berg in Montana and North Dakota, and former Rep. Heather Wilson in New Mexico. "All three had the 'right' resumes, and all three had no 'divisive' primaries. Yet all three lost in races that were thought to be winnable," says Chocola. "These three supposedly 'electable' Republican candidates also had something else in common: consistent support for bailouts, debt increases, earmarks, and massive expansions of big-government spending programs."

"The problem is that Congresswoman Capito's record looks a whole lot like the establishment candidates who lost this year," Chocola says. "Congresswoman Capito has a long record of support of bailouts, pork, and bigger government."

The Huffington Post noted the week after the election that the Club had a better record in the 2012 races than American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, though that still meant they won just half of the races they invested in -- including losses in Senate races in Indiana (where they helped Treasurer Richard Mourdock beat Sen. Richard Lugar in the GOP primary), Ohio, and Florida.

But Capito is widely considered the best choice for Republicans in West Virginia, and there is no other obvious candidate that would challenge her in a primary -- Republicans have a relatively thin bench in the state. Businessman John Raese is coming off of back-to-back losses to Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in 2010 and 2012. Businessman Bill Maloney had two respectable showings against Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin but has now lost gubernatorial races in the state in 2011 and 2012. GOP Rep. David McKinley, who represents the state's First District, could also potentially mount a bid.

"We have no idea if there will be any other candidates in this race, and that is not the point," said Club spokesperson Barney Keller in an email. "Our point is simply that the formula of party bosses picking big-government Republican nominees has not proved successful."

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