The Club for Growth, the national group that funneled money to bankroll one-term 1st District Idaho Rep. Bill Sali’s run for Congress in 2006, announced today that it not only is endorsing 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson’s GOP primary challenger, Bryan Smith of Idaho Falls – it actually recruited him and got him to run for the seat.
The Washington, D.C.-based group sent out a timeline “showing how the Club for Growth PAC, for the first time in history, used the Internet to solicit a viable primary challenger to an incumbent member of Congress,” saying it launched a website, www.PrimaryMyCongressman, in late February; tallied up submissions over the next month and a half and noticed “dozens of recommendations” for Smith as a challenger for Simpson; contacted Smith on April 12 at his law office to ask if he was interested in running; interviewed him May 6 at the Club for Growth offices in Washington, D.C.; and Smith announced his candidacy June 27.
“We’re confident that he’ll be a strong conservative alternative to RINO incumbent Mike Simpson,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. “The Club for Growth PAC is proud to endorse his candidacy.” Smith, an attorney and first-time candidate, says he’s already raised $147,000 for his run, but his campaign finance report hasn’t yet been filed, showing the numbers or sources of the funds.The "primary my congressman" website lists 10 incumbents for whom the group was seeking challengers; only Simpson is shown as having drawn one as a result.
In 2006, with Club for Growth’s generous support, Sali won a six-way GOP primary for an open seat with just 25.8 percent of the vote, then went on to defeat Democrat Larry Grant in the general election, 49.94 percent to 44.8 percent. Two years later, Sali lost to Democrat Walt Minnick, who beat him with 50.6 percent of the vote to Sali’s 49.4 percent. Minnick served one term; that seat is now held by second-term GOP Rep. Raul Labrador.
Simpson, the former speaker of the Idaho House, is a dentist from Blackfoot who served 14 years in the state Legislature before being elected to Congress in 1998, where he’s served since; he now chairs a key appropriations subcommittee. Since he beat Democrat Richard Stallings in 1998 with 52.5 percent of the vote to win the seat, Simpson’s never fallen below 62 percent in the general election; in three elections, in 2000, 2004 and 2008, he got more than 70 percent of the vote.
Click below to read the Club for Growth’s full announcement.
For Immediate Release:
July 10, 2013
Contact: Barney Keller
Club for Growth PAC Endorses Bryan Smith for Congress
Club for Growth President Chris Chocola: “We met with Bryan months ago after hearing about him through PrimaryMyCongressman.com, and we’re confident that he’ll be a strong conservative alternative to RINO incumbent Mike Simpson.”
Washington, DC– The Club for Growth PAC today announced that it is endorsing Idaho Falls lawyer Bryan Smith for Congress in Idaho’s Second Congressional District. The district is currently held by incumbent Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID).
At the bottom of this release, a timeline is provided showing how the Club for Growth PAC, for the first time in history, used the internet to solicit a viable primary challenger to an incumbent member of Congress.
“Bryan Smith is a champion of economic freedom and a fighter for lower taxes and limited government,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. “We met with Bryan months ago after hearing about him through PrimaryMyCongressman.com, and we’re confident that he’ll be a strong conservative alternative to RINO incumbent Mike Simpson. The Club for Growth PAC is proud to endorse his candidacy.”
“Career politician Mike Simpson is one of the biggest liberals in the Republican Party today. He voted to bail out Wall Street, to raise the debt limit by trillions, and for the fiscal cliff tax increase. He was one of just three Republicans who voted against cutting funding for the radical left-wing group ACORN. If all that weren’t bad enough, Mike Simpson is one of the biggest defenders of wasteful earmarks in the history of Congress and a big spender who even voted against cutting the spending out of the Obama stimulus. It’s time for Idaho voters to throw Mike Simpson out, and Bryan Smith is the man to replace him,” concluded Chocola.
Timeline of the Club for Growth PAC’s efforts in Idaho’s Second Congressional District
· February 27th, 2013: www.PrimaryMyCongressman.com is launched
· March, 2013: Hundreds of submissions are made to www.PrimaryMyCongressman.com
· April, 2013: Club staff review submissions, notice a high interest from Idaho voters in replacing Mike Simpson, and also notice dozens of recommendations for “Bryan Smith of Idaho Falls”
· April 12th, 2013: Club for Growth staff member contacts Smith at his law office, mentions the strong local support Smith received on www.PrimaryMyCongressman.com and asks if he’s interested in running for Congress against Simpson
· May 6th, 2013: Club staff interview Smith at Club offices in Washington, D.C. and begins conducting due diligence on Smith
· May 30th, 2013: Club for Growth receives results from a poll in Idaho’s 2nd Congressional district, finding Simpson extremely vulnerable to a challenge from Smith
· June 27th, 2013:Bryan Smith announces his candidacy for Congress against Mike Simpson
· Today:The Club for Growth PAC endorses Bryan Smith for Congress
The Club for Growth is the nation’s leading group promoting economic freedom through legislative involvement, issue advocacy, research, and education.
The Club’s website can be found at http://www.clubforgrowth.