The Club for Growth kicked off the election year with more than a half-million dollars in TV advertisements targeting a trio of Congressional races.
The well-funded, fiscally conservative group is airing ads blasting Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) in the state's open-seat Senate race, plus GOP Reps. Fred Upton (Mich.) and Tim Murphy (Pa.).
The ad blitz is the latest sign the club plans to invest heavily in GOP primaries this year, including against incumbents. Last summer, the club ran ads critical of Sens. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), as well as some targeting former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who is vying for an open Senate seat.
The spots will run for two weeks on cable in three states. But club spokesman Barney Keller signaled more spending in the pricey Lone Star State media markets.
"This is only the beginning of our efforts in Texas," Keller said.
The club endorsed one of Dewhurst's foes, former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz (R), in the race for retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's (R) seat.
The club has not endorsed a candidate against Upton or Murphy yet. But earlier this year, club officials reported they were encouraged after they met with former state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk (R), who is considering his second primary challenge against Upton.
Finally, in Pennsylvania, former Congressional aide Evan Feinberg (R) announced he'll challenge Murphy in the primary.
Following the speeches from elected officials, the crowd stands at long tables as they dig into BBQ, brunswick stew, cadillac rice at the Law Enforcement Cookout at Wayne Dasher's pond house in Glennville, Ga., on Thursday, April 17, 2014.