After a rough start to the 2014 primary season, the Club for Growth hopes to reverse its fortunes over the next week with wins in a handful of open, safe-seat House GOP runoff elections.
So far, the influential conservative group has a losing record in competitive primaries in which it has made endorsements this cycle. The club backed the eventual winners in Republican nominating contests in the Nebraska Senate race and in Texas's 4th Congressional District, but its favored candidates fell short in the Mississippi Senate race, Idaho's 2nd District, and in the initial round of voting in Alabama's 6th District. (The group also endorsed Tom Cotton in the Arkansas Senate race, but he ran uncontested in the May primary.)
On Tuesday, the club, one of Washington's most powerful outside groups in Republican primaries, gets to try again in Alabama, where it supported Gary Palmer, cofounder of the conservative nonprofit Alabama Policy Institute, over state Rep. Paul DeMarco. The club's first preferred candidate in the 6th District — orthopedic surgeon Chad Mathis — failed to advance.
The following week, the Club for Growth has a stake in two runoffs in Georgia. In the battle to succeed Senate hopeful Jack Kingston in the 1st District, the group is backing surgeon Bob Johnson over state Sen. Earl "Buddy" Carter. And in the 11th District, state Sen. Barry Loudermilk has the club on his side in his effort to succeed Rep. Phil Gingrey.