FreedomWorks Backs Challenger To Republican Bob Bennett

The effort to oust Republican Sen. Bob Bennett (UT) in 2010 is gelling, a bit: the Dick Armey-led activist group FreedomWorks endorsed conservative candidate Mike Lee today at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC.

This comes after the Club for Growth announced Jan.8 that it would oppose Bennett, while declining to endorse any of his potential challengers specifically.

Lee is new to politics: he's a lawyer who clerked for federal judges in DC, served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Utah, and then served as Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman's (R) general counsel in 2005 and 2006.

The semblance of unity here between FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth is significant: the Club for Growth injects millions into campaigns every cycle to back pro-business conservative candidates, while FreedomWorks tries to rouse grassroots activist support. They're ideologically similar: fiscal conservative, pro-business, small-government, and Ayn Randish.

FreedomWorks has cultivated a close relationship with the tea party movement, helping to coordinate rallies and, now, discussing strategy with the leaders of Tea Party Patriots, a group that claims a membership base of 15 million.

In this race in Utah--against a senator who's not even the least conservative in the Republican caucus--and in other races in 2010, it's entirely plausible that the Club for Growth will supply the money for conservative candidates while FreedomWorks and the tea partiers supply the grassroots backing.

Jessica Olien contributed to this post.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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