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Officials at the Club for Growth have zeroed in on former Rep. Chris Chocola (R-Ind.) to lead the group after the current president, former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), leaves later this month to run for Senate in Pennsylvania.
According to sources familiar with the situation, Chocolas hiring is not a done deal, but he will likely take the top spot after Toomey departs. Toomey has indicated that he plans to run against Sen. Arlen Specter in the 2010 GOP primary a rematch of the 2004 primary challenge that Toomey lost by 2 points.
The club advocates for fiscally conservative causes and candidates, calling on its extensive list of donors to back conservative candidates in GOP primaries in House and Senate races often at the expense of the national partys preferred candidate.
A spokeswoman for the club declined to comment Wednesday morning, and Chocola did not respond to a request for comment.
Chocola is one of 17 members on the clubs leadership council and served alongside Toomey for a single term in the House. Chocola was twice elected to the House before losing a bid for his third term in 2006 to now-Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.).
And like Toomey, Chocola has deep pockets: Roll Call reported in 2004 that Chocola was one of the wealthiest Members of Congress with a net worth of almost $15 million.
The Indiana Republican, however, has never donated a significant amount to his own campaigns, according to federal election records. In his final campaign in 2006, Chocola raised $3.2 million and lost to Donnelly by 8 points.