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Conservative Group Gets Jump On 'Primarying' Republicans In 2014

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., is among those Republicans the conservative Club for Growth is looking to "primary" in 2014.
Susan Walsh
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., is among those Republicans the conservative Club for Growth is looking to "primary" in 2014.

Live in a solidly Republican congressional district but think your member of Congress isn't conservative enough? Well, the Club for Growth has a new website for you.

PrimaryMyCongressman.com targets "moderate Republicans" who have "joined with Democrats to pass liberal policies that harm economic growth," the group says.

While many Republicans are actively looking for ways to expand the party by reaching out to a wider audience, the club is looking for ways to rid the party of those it believes have strayed too far.

Specifically, Club for Growth notes that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney won at least 55 percent of the vote in 159 congressional districts but some of those districts are currently represented (in the club's view) by a "Republican In Name Only."

The site explains its rationale: "There's no reason a heavily Republican district should have a R.I.N.O. representing them in Congress."

The site already features nine House members, from Indiana's Larry Bucshon to Oklahoma's Frank Lucas to Idaho's Mike Simpson. The site devotes a page to each offending member, which details his or her transgressions (Simpson voted for the 2008 Wall Street bailout, the 2011 debt ceiling increase, and the recent "fiscal cliff" deal, for example).

Visitors are encouraged to recommend primary opponents for each of its featured members — and are also encouraged to submit new nominations for Republican lawmakers to be targeted, with the tease: "Why not my congressman?"

Oh, and visitors are also encouraged to donate to the Club for Growth Action, the superPAC that in November helped elect Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and helped defeat Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar in the Republican primary.

Of course, the winner of that Indiana primary was Richard Mourdock, who went on to lose in the general election to Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly. Which is why other Republican groups may be somewhat less excited to see such a formalized process for purging incumbent House Republicans.

S.V. Dáte is the congressional editor on NPR's Washington Desk.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

S.V. Dáte
Shirish Dáte is an editor on NPR's Washington Desk and the author of Jeb: America's Next Bush, based on his coverage of the Florida governor as Tallahassee bureau chief for the Palm Beach Post.
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