New Club for Growth President Singles Out John McCain for Potential Primary Challenge

The group’s support would be critical for an effective primary challenge against the Arizona incumbent.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 13: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee member Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (R) questions former Department of Defense General Counsel Jeh Johnson during his confirmation hearing to be the next Secretary of Homeland Security with committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE) (L) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill November 13, 2013 in Washington, DC. If confirmed by the Senate, Johnson would replace Secretary Janet Napolitano who left DHS in September.
National Journal
Alex Roarty
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Alex Roarty
Feb. 3, 2015, 5:23 a.m.

New Club for Growth Pres­id­ent Dav­id McIn­tosh said Tues­day that the free-mar­ket group would “watch closely” Sen. John Mc­Cain’s reelec­tion race — es­pe­cially if Rep. Dav­id Sch­weikert or Rep. Matt Sal­mon de­cides to mount a primary chal­lenge against the long­time Re­pub­lic­an in­cum­bent.

The group has been sup­port­ive of both Ari­zona Re­pub­lic­an con­gress­men in the past, McIn­tosh noted, and each has pub­licly ru­min­ated about run­ning. Sch­weikert, elec­ted in 2010, and Sal­mon, elec­ted in 2012, were en­dorsed by the club for their con­gres­sion­al cam­paigns and are fa­vor­ites of fisc­al con­ser­vat­ives.

“Does one of them de­cide to enter the race?” McIn­tosh said at a break­fast hos­ted by The Chris­ti­an Sci­ence Mon­it­or. “And then we’re dis­cip­lined about it. We’ll do re­search and polling and de­term­ine if there’s a path to vic­tory and is the money well spent.”

McIn­tosh, who suc­ceeded Chris Chocola as club pres­id­ent late last year, em­phas­ized that his group is still in the early stages of as­sess­ing po­ten­tial primary op­pon­ents and that many po­ten­tial con­ser­vat­ive can­did­ates haven’t ser­i­ously con­sidered the 2016 cycle yet.

But there’s little doubt Mc­Cain, the one­time GOP pres­id­en­tial nom­in­ee with a mod­er­ate streak, sits atop the primary wish list of many con­ser­vat­ives. He’s one of the few Re­pub­lic­an Sen­ate in­cum­bents who present an in­vit­ing tar­get for con­ser­vat­ives next year, as many of the oth­er GOP in­cum­bents up for reelec­tion are already tea-party fa­vor­ites, in­clud­ing Sens. Pat Toomey, Mike Lee, and Marco Ru­bio.

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