The Club for Growth is preparing to spend millions of dollars to help reelect the 20 House Republicans who opposed Kevin McCarthy’s speakership bid.
David McIntosh, the president of the anti-tax group known for antagonizing the party establishment, told donors he was preparing a $20 million defense fund to help “The Patriot 20”, according to a memo obtained by POLITICO. He warned that “moderate donor networks” were already mobilizing to punish those members.
“Making our financial commitment public may serve as an effective deterrent to some potential challengers,” he wrote. “Moderate donors and candidates seeking to settle scores should save their money, because we are prepared to win at all costs.”
The Club’s primary goal will be to defend the five freshmen members of the group who are especially vulnerable: Reps. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.), Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.), Josh Brecheen (R-Okla.), Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) and Keith Self (R-Texas).
McIntosh wrote the Club would also closely monitor any primary challengers to the 15 other members, a group which includes some of the biggest congressional rabble rousers, such as Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.). Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), who is considering a Senate run, is also on the list.
McCarthy won the speakership after a historic and contentious 15 rounds of voting. He was forced to make a laundry list of concessions to win over his detractors.
The Club’s memo appears intended to spook any McCarthy allies plotting against those who voted against his speaker bid. McIntosh noted that his group helped elect 17 of the 20 members and praised them for their work “to advance conservative priorities and establish a more transparent and accountable legislative process in the House during the Speaker negotiations in January.”
So far, hardly any members of the group have attracted primary challengers who have managed to raise any serious money.
But primary challenges have been top of mind for the Club, which agreed to support McCarthy’s speakership in exchange for a truce with his largest super PAC. That group, the Congressional Leadership Fund, vowed to refrain from spending in open-seat primaries in deep red districts — something it did only rarely anyway. And it already does not spend against Republican incumbents.
In the memo, the Club also noted that it would also help the three members of the 20 who could be most at risk from Democrats in a general election: Boebert, Luna and Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.). Boebert’s 2022 challenger, Adam Frisch, is running again after nearly besting her last fall. He announced raising a whopping $2.6 million in the second quarter of this year.