By BRIAN A. HOWEY
INDIANAPOLIS – Just days after Indiana Treasurer Richard Moudock suggested he was ready for his 12th campaign in the past two decades, his key enabler, Club For Growth, has put a bullseye on the back of U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon.
Mourdock, who blew the U.S. Senate race against Sen. Joe Donnelly with his “God intends rape” remark last October, owns a home in Darmstadt, which is located in Bucshon’s 8th CD.
Politco reported Wednesday that Club For Growth will post a website targeting nine Republicans for defeat in 2014. In addition to Bucshon, it has identified eight other districts where Mitt Romney notched more than 60 percent in the 2012 presidential race, but got a lifetime rating of below 70 percent from the club. For now, the Republicans on the website are Reps. Mike Simpson (Idaho), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Rick Crawford (Ark.), Frank Lucas (Okla.), Steve Palazzo (Miss.), Martha Roby (Ala.), Renee Ellmers (N.C.) and Aaron Schock (Ill.).
“We’ve been planning this for awhile but we’ve really wanted to release it in (context with) our scorecard because it really kind of drives who qualifies for the list,” Club President Chris Chocola said in an interview. “We came up with this idea and started developing the website and everything long before Rove started developing his Victory Project.”
The CFG website www.PrimaryMyCongressman.com outlined the Club’s beef with Bucshon.
“Why Bucshon,” the website asked. “Larry Bucshon’s Jobs and Economic Recovery Plan, released during his first campaign for Congress, promised that he would ‘work to eliminate redundant programs and bureaucracies that are unnecessary for the government to provide services to its citizens.’ But he voted to keep the National Labor Relations Board and for wasteful ethanol subsidies. He even voted to continue to fund ObamaCare.”
On the “check the record” section, Club For Growth said Bucshon voted to: increase the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion. (RCV #690, 2011); for a budget extension that funded ObamaCare (RCV #579, 2012); to bailout the Highway Trust Fund (RCV #451, 2012); to massively expand corporate welfare by reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank (RCV #224, 2012); with labor unions to protect spending for the National Labor Relations Board (RCV #75, 2011); against blocking funding for an ethanol blender pump (RCV #125, 2011); against the budget proposed by House conservatives (RCV #275, 2011);against numerous spending cuts that would have reduced the size of government (Link).
Bucshon spokesman Nick McGee told HPI, “Club for Growth is a Washington, D.C. based organization that certainly has a right to their opinion. Dr. Bucshon has a strong conservative voting record and was successfully reelected by a 10 percent margin in his last election. He has confidence his constituents in Indiana will continue to assess his record of consistently fighting to cut spending, keep taxes low, bring good pay jobs to Hoosiers, and reform healthcare and not rely on a D.C. based organization to assess it for them.”
Bucshon has won two primary races against Krisit Risk, a Greene County housewife. In 2010, he won a nailbiter over Risk, 16,262 to 14,273 in a crowded field. In the 2012 primary rematch, Bucshon defeated Risk 34,511 to 24,960.
Last November Bucshon won a second term defeating former Democratic State Rep. Dave Crooks, 151,533 to 122,325.
Club For Growth targeted U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar despite a Republican voting record in the 90th percentile and the fact that he had been Indiana’s leading vote getter in history, earning more than 7.5 million votes in races since 1974. Mourdock’s loss to Donnelly continued a trend of Tea Party candidates who have lost what were considered to be likely Republican pickups in Delaware, Nevada and Colorado.
Mourdock said at the Vanderburgh County Republican Lincoln Day dinner that he was weighing a potential comeback. “I’m going to find a way to have my voice heard,” Mourdock told the Evansville Courier & Press at the Vanderburgh County dinner. It was Mourdock’s third GOP Lincoln Day dinner of the week, and three more are planned. He was the keynote speaker at the Clinton County LD on Feb. 21.
Mourdock is considered persona non grata by many Republicans – the Lugarites for challenging and unseating Sen. Lugar, and many others for blowing the 2012 Senate race – and there exists something HPI identified in the fumes of the treasurer’s loss last November as the “Mourdock wing of the Indiana Republican Party.”
While some Tea Party activists like Greg Fettig blasted Mourdock for the way he ran his campaign and the debate blunder, in other Tea Party tribes Mourdock is still a hero who was defeated thanks to “liberals” and journalists. It was in these quarters that Tea Party activists encouraged Mourdock to take on Lugar, and with many of them he remains an inspiring, if flawed, figure.
In the 2012 Senate race, outside groups spent $32,844,052, according to the website Open Secrets, while the Mourdock campaign raised $8,596,756. Club For Growth spent $3.867 million on Mourdock even though he bombed during the first interview he had with the Super PAC in 2011 as he was preparing to successfully challenge Lugar in the Republican primary.
According to end of the year filings with the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office, Mourdock also continues to carry over $11,000 in campaign debts from his 2010 Indiana Treasurer’s campaign.
If the 2012 Senate primary is a guide for the 2014 8th CD, expect the Club to direct its spending towards Cable TV broadcasters/FOX News and DC based TV, Direct Mail, and email production firms. According to FEC filings, almost the entirety of the Club’s $3.9 million in independent expenditures during the 2012 Indiana Senate race were to Washington, D.C. metro area firms. The Club did not directly employ any Indiana based companies.
The trend of Super PACs employing Inside-The-Beltway media advisors appears to be continuing which prompted a sales rep from a local Indianapolis TV station to say this week, “Overall, we (in Indiana) were disappointed with the 2012 cycle.”