For the Right, Election Night 2018 was more grim than grin. While the GOP kept the U.S. Senate, the loss of the House and state- and local-level downfalls across America were tough rocks to swallow.
But one campaign organization must have enjoyed a rollicking time watching the returns roll in. In fact, with 14 wins and three defeats, the Club for Growth’s congressional independent-expenditure effort boasted 82 percent bull’s-eyes.
This far outpaced the independent-expenditure programs of other market-friendly super PACs last November, such as the (pro-Freedom Caucus) House Freedom Action’s 70 percent hit rate, the Koch-funded Seminar Network’s 47 percent positive record, and the “official” National Republican Congressional Committee, which saved 13 races and sank 25, equaling 34 percent success.
How did CFG — whose gatherings I have addressed numerous times — soar when so many pro-GOP operations sputtered?
“The Club’s PACs’ win/loss record is by far the best among all Republican groups because we have a rigorous race/candidate-vetting and endorsement process,” explains CFG president David McIntosh, himself a former GOP congressman from Indiana who was replaced in 2001 by a young broadcaster named Mike Pence. “Additionally, when Club for Growth PAC endorses a candidate, Club PACs overwhelm the opposition with targeted spending. In other words, we go all in.”
CFG also promotes contenders just as they hit the hustings.
“Unlike other groups, Club PACs engage very early on in races so that our dollars are spent more effectively and efficiently when campaigns usually don’t have the funds to be on air themselves,” McIntosh notes. “This gives Club for Growth PAC a tremendous advantage in framing the narrative of the race and defining the opposition before they can attempt to define our endorsed candidate. Our early, all-in model allows us to dominate races.”
Representative Chip Roy cherishes CFG’s confidence.
“The Club’s backing was instrumental, because I had only 90 days to come out on top of 17 other candidates, and then we had just over 70 days to win a run-off,” the Texas Republican tells me. “I almost certainly would not have won the primary given how crowded the field was without the support of the Club for Growth.”