Friday, July 12, 2013

Club For Growth Goes To War-- Civil War Against Conservative Republican Mike Simpson (ID)


Idaho is very red. And Mike Simpson's district, ID-02, has a PVI of R+17. Folks there went for McCain 61-37% and last November voted for Romney 64-33%. Simpson, a 62 year old Mormon dentist, was reelected over Democrat Nicole LeFavour 65-35% and of the 26 counties in the district Simpson won 24-- all but Ada and Blaine. Simpson won 8 counties with over 80% of the vote. The former Speaker of the state House of Representatives, Simpson first won the seat in 1998 when Mike Crapo left the seat and went to the Senate. He's close with Boehner and is considered one of the House GOP "cardinals." He far less "independent" that Raul Labrador, Idaho's other Republican congressman. Labrador has a career-long ProgressivePunch crucial vote score of 14. Simpson's is much more conservative: 3.92, more right-wing than radicals like Michele Bachmann (4.05), Paul Ryan (4.26), Mike Coffman (5.30), Matt Salmon (5.80), Louie Gohmert (5.34) and even militia posterboy Steve Stockman, who was implicated in the Oklahoma City bombing (9.44). In the past we've reported on the fringe right's very well-financed jihad against mainstream conservatives. Deranged former Congressman Chris Chocola, now at the Club For Growth, is one of the leaders of that effort and he targeted Simpson. He's threatening to primary 10 mainstream conservatives with his Primary My Congressman initiative. A press release this week explained that Simpson is first and that the Club has endorsed right-wing sociopath Bryan Smith as the tool.
“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, 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. 
The right-wing website, National Review, is already calling it a primary fight to watch and the biggest paper in the state was scratching its head and trying to figure out why the Club For Growth is calling Simpson a crazy liberal.
Apparently anticipating the endorsement, Simpson issued a news release about two hours before the Smith endorsement, saying he’d raised more than $300,000 between April and June. In 2006, Club for Growth spent $1.1 million to elect 1st District GOP Rep. Bill Sali in a race for an open seat.

Smith, who announced his campaign last month, has yet to file a campaign finance report. But his campaign manager, Carrie Brown, said Smith had raised $147,000 in the 2nd quarter. Reports are due July 15.
Local pundit Randy Stapilus warns that Simpson is vulnerable to an attack from the far right that could unseat him. For one thing, in an off year election, right-wing activists will have a more dominant presence in the primary-- and, under new rules, only party members can vote. One of Smith’s most visible supporters was the lead architect of Republican primary registration, former legislator Rod Beck.
Smith is getting an early start, much earlier than Simpson’s primary opponents in the past. We don’t yet know what kind of candidate he will be, but the long stretch between here and the primary election, most of a year, can be a powerful thing if a candidate has the personal goods to make the sale. He surely goes in as an underdog, but the potential is there to change that. His activist-style message is much the same as the one Raul Labrador has ridden to success in the other Idaho House district, and if he organizes well enough it could catch hold in the second district too. Many of Simpson’s real assets-- close ties to House leadership, deep experience, genuine legislative skill, and ability to work with a range of people-- could be trouble for him in a closed Republican primary.

It's worth listening to Alan Grayson explaining the dynamic of how the far right uses this tactic to keep more mainstream conservatives in line and to push them further right:

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