Club for Growth Urges Primary of NRCC Chair

Club For Growth added a big target to its primary-challenge list Thursday: National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon.

Walden "has a long record of supporting increases in government spending and opposing fiscally conservative proposals," the group wrote on its website The lawmaker's support of the Wall Street bailout and opposition to "cutting the spending from Obama's stimulus" were listed among the reasons the group found Walden's record unacceptable.

Walden has drawn conservative ire for criticizing President Obama's "chained CPI" proposal, which would limit Social Security benefits, during a CNN interview on Wednesday. "You're trying to balance this budget on the backs of seniors, and I think it's not the right way to go," Walden said.

Club For Growth's president, Chris Chocola, called chained CPI a "modest proposal" and said Walden's opposition is a sign he doesn't favor entitlement reform.

"We always knew Greg Walden had a liberal record," said Chocola, "but he really cemented it with his public opposition to even modest entitlement reform."

Walden is considered one of the more moderate members of House GOP leadership. National Journal's 2012 vote ratings showed him tied for the 197th-most conservative member in the House, close to the middle of the chamber and among the 50 most moderate House Republicans. The Club for Growth noted Walden's 62 percent lifetime mark on its scorecard in a news release.

Walden, who was unopposed for the GOP nomination, won 69 percent of the vote in his reelection bid in last year's general election. In the presidential race, Mitt Romney took 57 percent of the vote in the district, which covers the eastern two-thirds of the state.

National Journal Daily interviewed Walden for a story about his moderate voting record in February. "I got asked to do this job because of the skill set I bring, not necessarily my voting record in the House," he said when asked about his role as NRCC chairman. "I think you can see from the vice-chairs team we brought together, we have some of the most conservative members of our conference and some moderate members of our conference."

The NRCC backed Walden in a statement: "Chairman Walden supports the budget passed by House Republicans that preserves and protects Medicare and Social Security while also balancing the budget in 10 years. He disagrees with President Obama's political plan that hurts current seniors just so he can pay for more wasteful spending."