Georgia: Club for Growth Comes to Freshman Broun’s Aid

Posted April 28, 2008 at 6:38pm

Just days after the powerful anti-tax group the Club for Growth endorsed Rep. Paul Broun (R), the Congressman’s top primary challenger, state Rep. Barry Fleming, officially qualified on Monday for the ballot, making for what is shaping up to be a tight 10th district GOP race.

The endorsement of the club, which is known for its deep pockets, came not a second too soon for Broun, whose first-quarter fundraising reports showed him losing the money battle to Fleming.

Broun, who came to Congress last summer in a tight special election following the death of the late Rep. Charlie Norwood (R), had $116,000 in cash on hand but close to $200,000 in debt as of March 31. Fleming, meanwhile, ended the quarter with no debt and close to $600,000 in cash on hand.

Despite the fact that Broun has been in Congress for only nine months, the club praised him as “a conservative stalwart on economic issues,” according to its news release late last week.

Broun “has stood steadfast against wasteful government spending and big-government initiatives even if it meant voting against his Party,” Club for Growth President Pat Toomey said in the statement. “The Club for Growth PAC will do whatever it takes to help Rep. Broun earn a full term.”

In his filing announcement on Monday, Fleming painted a less flattering picture of Broun’s first nine months.

“From his first vote in Congress Paul Broun has been tying the hands of law enforcement, endangering families, putting Fort Gordon and our other local resources in jeopardy, diverting economic development away from northeast Georgia, and setting back conservative causes by misrepresenting facts,” Fleming said.

The GOP primary is shaping up to be a battle between the Congressman’s Athens base and Fleming’s Augusta base.

The Republican race got a little less complicated earlier this month when state Sen. Nancy Schaefer, who hails from the northern portion of the district, decided against running after initially throwing her hat into the ring in March. In opting out of the race, Schaefer cited her husband’s health problems.

— John McArdle