Club For Growth hunts for "RINO" challengers

The conservative advocacy group is looking for primary challengers to moderate Republicans

By Jillian Rayfield

Published February 27, 2013 10:53PM (EST)

 Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill.         (Facebook/RepAaronSchock)
Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill. (Facebook/RepAaronSchock)

The conservative advocacy group Club For Growth is targeting moderates that they've labelled as "RINOs," or "Republicans In Name Only," and calling for conservative candidates to mount challenges to them in the primaries.

Club For Growth launched the initiative through a website, "Primary My Congressman!", which will regularly feature Congressmen with low ratings from the group. The idea is to target moderates in districts that are safely Republican, so conservative primary challengers will have a good shot at winning in the general election.

The first batch members targeted by Club For Growth are Reps. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho,  Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., Rick Crawford, R-Ark., Frank Lucas, R-Okla., Steve Palazzo, R-Miss., Martha Roby, R-Ala., Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., Renee Elmers, R-N.C., and Aaron Schock, R-Ill.

“Big government liberals inhabit the Democratic Party, but they are far too common within the Republican Party as well,” Chris Chocola, Club For Growth's president, said in a statement.

This is the flip side to Karl Rove's plan to protect establishment Republicans in the primaries by raising big bucks from GOP donors, and crushing ultra-conservative candidates who don't have a chance in the general election. One prime example of this was in the 2012 elections, when Club For Growth backed Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock through his primary win against Dick Lugar, but saw Mourdock ultimately lose in the general election after he offered some questionable theories about rape.

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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