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Club for Growth Celebrates Record Wins So Far

“The difference between this cycle and last cycle is that everyone appears to be singing from the same song sheet and keeping their eye on the prize — November,” the operative said.

Rep. Steven LaTourette (Ohio), a member of the moderate Republican Main Street Partnership who has been critical of the club in the past, credited Chocola, who took over as president this cycle, for running a more “Republican friendly” organization.

“I think they have perhaps decided that rather than being the club for Democratic growth they have a more target-rich environment on the Democratic side of the aisle in November,” LaTourette said.

But LaTourette said he doesn’t expect the love to last.

“If we secure the majority in November I’m sure we can get back to the Spanish Inquisition and continue purging our party by fire.”

But Chocola denied that his group has changed its primary strategy or is picking its races any differently than it has in past cycles.

“Our A races are open-seat, safe Republican races,” Chocola said. “If there’s going to be a Republican elected ... we want to make sure the most free-market-oriented candidate is elected. That’s always our bread and butter. ... What may be new is that we have more general election [races to play in] than we usually do.”

Chocola denied that his group is in any way trying to stay in its own lane and out of the way of the NRCC this cycle.

“We just try to find the people that we like to support, whichever lane they may be in,” he said. “I don’t think Bob Bennett would have said we stayed in our lane. I’m not sure Arlen Specter [D-Pa.] would have said we stayed in our lane before he switched parties.”

Chocola added that one reason the perception might exist that the club and national committees are playing nicely this cycle is that in the current political environment the committees have come to the realization that issues that the club promotes and the type of candidates that it looks for are what the voters want right now.

Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), who butted heads with the club during his tenure at the NRCC last cycle, agreed.

“The temper of the times make the differences between establishment Republicans and Club for Growth Republicans less than they were before. ... Members realize they have to be much more consistently conservative then they have been in the past and that’s a good thing,” he said.

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