Club for Growth Promises to Back Republicans Who Buck Boehner

After an establishment group promised to air ads targeting members who vote against extending funding for the Homeland Security Department, the club struck back.

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, pauses during a news conference July 26, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
National Journal
Jack Fitzpatrick
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Jack Fitzpatrick
March 3, 2015, 6:04 a.m.

The Re­pub­lic­an es­tab­lish­ment is go­ing back to battle with the party’s right wing — this time over the anti-John Boehner re­bel­lion brew­ing in the House.

First, the Amer­ic­an Ac­tion Net­work, es­tab­lish­ment GOP non­profit, said it would launch ads tar­get­ing House mem­bers who have blocked fund­ing for the Home­land Se­cur­ity De­part­ment in a bid to block Pres­id­ent Obama’s ex­ec­ut­ive or­ders on im­mig­ra­tion. The group will spend $400,000 on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day on TV, ra­dio, and di­git­al ads ur­ging the law­makers to vote for a bill to fund the de­part­ment.

“Some in Wash­ing­ton are will­ing to put our se­cur­ity at risk by jeop­ard­iz­ing crit­ic­al se­cur­ity fund­ing,” the TV ad’s nar­rat­or says, show­ing im­ages of what ap­pear to be ter­ror­ists. “That’s the wrong mes­sage to send to our en­emies.” A sim­il­arly worded ra­dio ad will air on The Rush Limbaugh Show and The Sean Han­nity Show.

Reps. Tim Huel­skamp, Jim Briden­stine, and Jim Jordan are all be­ing hit with the broad­cast ads. The Amer­ic­an Ac­tion Net­work will also launch di­git­al ads pres­sur­ing nine oth­er anti­es­tab­lish­ment Re­pub­lic­ans — Reps. Raul Lab­rador, Mor­gan Grif­fith, Mark Mead­ows, Ted Yoho, Louie Gohmert, Mick Mul­vaney, Tom Rice, Jody Hice, and Barry Loudermilk — to sup­port the fund­ing.

But the Club for Growth, a group with anti­es­tab­lish­ment ties, struck back Tues­day, say­ing it would back the law­makers who have bucked the speak­er over DHS fund­ing, even though the group has not of­fi­cially taken a po­s­i­tion on the fund­ing bill.

“What’s next? Will Speak­er Boehner run ads against House con­ser­vat­ives who op­pose rais­ing the debt ceil­ing or sup­port elim­in­at­ing the cor­por­ate wel­fare slush fund that is the Ex­port-Im­port Bank?” McIn­tosh said. “We have a mes­sage for those House Re­pub­lic­ans who might be tar­geted: If the Speak­er of the House at­tacks you for stand­ing up for eco­nom­ic free­dom and lim­ited gov­ern­ment, the Club for Growth PAC will have your back.”

The in­tra-party struggle will come to a head later this week, when House GOP lead­er­ship will likely hold a vote on a bill that funds DHS but does not af­fect Obama’s im­mig­ra­tion ef­forts. Boehner’s crit­ics lack an ap­par­ent route to block that vote, which will likely pass, but they’re not hold­ing back in their cri­ti­cism of his lead­er­ship. “So he just caved in there,” Huel­skamp said of Boehner. “Guess he for­got that a num­ber of us had re­com­men­ded that this was a poor strategy back in Decem­ber.”

The Sen­ate Con­ser­vat­ives Fund also re­spon­ded by send­ing a fun­drais­ing email to sup­port­ers to raise money for Huel­skamp, Briden­stine, and Jordan.

This post has been up­dated to in­clude the Sen­ate Con­ser­vat­ives Fund’s entry in­to the for­ay.

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