The Club for Growth has long been an antagonist to many in the Republican establishment. But that has not deterred some prospective presidential candidates from that wing of the party from signing up to address the organization’s meeting in Florida later this month.
Six potential 2016 candidates have accepted invitations to speak at the private gathering Feb. 26-28 at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, according to a knowledgeable official who shared the information with The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity.
They are Former Florida governor Jeb Bush; Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas; Indiana Gov. Mike Pence; and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
The conservative organization — which promotes free markets, small government and low taxes — prides itself on its willingness to take on elected officials and other politicians whose records they find in opposition to those principles. The group has backed primary challengers to incumbent Republicans in statewide races, and actively worked against former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee in the 2008 presidential race for his fiscal record.
The organization’s leadership his signaled its intention to play a role in the 2016 GOP nomination contest, and the Florida event will give its members an early look at some of the leading candidates.
The six who will appear represent different strands of the Republican coalition. Cruz has made himself an outsider, willing to attack the party establishment directly and continually. Bush may be the most surprising of those who have accepted invitations since he is seen as the favorite of many in the party establishment for the GOP nomination.
Bush’s record on immigration and education have brought opposition from the GOP’s conservative wing. Lately he has stressed the need for Republicans to deal more directly with issues of wealth inequality, wage stagnation and economic mobility, but he has yet to outline detailed policies.