It's official: the Club for Growth has endorsed conservative upstart Marco Rubio in Florida's Senate race, over moderate Gov. Charlie Crist (R).
This should come as a surprise to no one: Rubio has been accumulating national support from conservatives since the beginning of his campaign. In May, conservative bloggers (the most prominent being RedState's Erick Erickson) began criticizing NRSC Chairman John Cornyn for backing Crist, and then, in June, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) backed Rubio as well--all amid accusations that Crist was too moderate.
The Club is in the business of supporting fiscally conservative candidates, sometimes in primaries against incumbent Republicans. In the 2008 election cycle, they launched an offensive against Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), who, thanks to the Club's efforts, lost his primary to conservative Andy Harris, and the seat eventually went to the Democrats.
(This trend on the Club's part, by the way, has not gone unnoticed. Some would say that it's better to keep a moderate Republican in office than to lose the seat altogether.)
But now, the Club's moment seems to have arrived. The conservative grassroots have been swept up in fiscal conservatism, and they're fresh off a semi-victory in NY-23, where the Club backed Conservatve Party candidate Doug Hoffman and became one of the central financial players in the race, spending almost on par with the big boys--the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee--adding just over $1 million to the race, including bundled donations.