Club for Growth hires firm blacklisted by national GOP

January 31, 2014
Chris Chocola (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images) Chris Chocola (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

The Club for Growth, a conservative group that is known for backing primary challengers against GOP incumbents, has hired a consulting firm which was recently blacklisted by national GOP groups for doing the same.

The Club announced Friday that it has added the group, Jamestown Associates, to its media production team. Jamestown has worked for the Club in the past, but the group said it will take on a bigger role this cycle.

“We've long admired Jamestown Associates for their creativity, winning record in tough campaigns, and the quality of their product,” Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said in a statement. “When we heard recently that they would have more time to work with Club for Growth Action we immediately seized the opportunity. We look forward to the opportunity to utilize their services on races like Chris McDaniel’s in Mississippi and Ben Sasse’s in Nebraska.”

The Club is backing both McDaniel and Sasse — the former who is running against longtime Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) in a primary.

Three months ago, the New York Times's Jonathan Martin reported that the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which leads the GOP effort to win Senate seats, had been calling Republican Senate campaigns to dissuade them from hiring Jamestown. In doing so, it cited Jamestown's work for the Senate Conservatives Fund, another group that often supports primary challengers and insurgent candidates.

“We’re not going to do business with people who profit off of attacking Republicans,” NRSC spokesman Brad Dayspring said at the time. “Purity for profit is a disease that threatens the Republican Party.”

In response to Jamestown's hiring Friday, Dayspring said: "The free market is a wonderful thing."

The blacklisting of Jamestown was apparently not limited to the NRSC.

Several GOP senators are facing primary challengers this year. The Club for Growth is backing fewer of these primary challengers than is the Senate Conservatives Fund, but in the past it has played a role in knocking off a number of less-conservative GOP incumbents, including Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) in 2012.

National Republicans have argued that such efforts undermine the party's goal of winning back the Senate. The man who defeated Lugar, Richard Mourdock, wound up losing in the general election, despite Indiana going overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney at the presidential level.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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