Republican Eyes Primary Challenge to NRCC Chairman | #OR02
Updated 6:23 p.m. | Klamath County Commissioner Dennis Linthicum, a Republican, announced last week that he is eyeing a primary challenge to longtime Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
The Oregonian has been named a top target of the Club for Growth, which placed the eight-term Republican on a list of GOP members it is seeking to primary in 2014.
A Club for Growth spokesman said the group had spoken with Linthicum over the phone, but has yet to have a formal meeting with him.
“We are watching the race,” Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller said about whether the group is considering endorsing Linthicum in a primary.
Linthicum spokeswoman Dani Nichols said Linthicum is still exploring a bid, and he will likely make a decision whether to run within the next two months.
“Within the next probably 30 to 60 days he will have gotten enough feedback to know whether or not this is the right decision for him and for the community,” said Nichols, adding that Linthicum has been approached by many members of the community to run.
Nichols said a Club for Growth endorsement would not make or break Linthicum’s decision to enter the contest.
It is unclear how much of a threat Linthicum would be to Walden’s future in the House. But a Walden aide expressed confidence in the congressman’s re-election.
“No one works harder for Oregon families than Greg Walden, we are confident that voters will return Greg to Congress and support his efforts to repeal ObamaCare, and reduce the size and cost of government,” said the Walden aide. “Conservatives know he is leading the fight to grow our majority and ensure that President Obama never has total control of Washington again.”
The NRCC chairman has coasted to re-election seven times since was first elected in 1998. He had more than $1.3 million in cash on hand at the end of the second quarter, a total he is poised to increase after the next fundraising deadline on Sept. 30.
Oregon’s 2nd District is rated a Safe Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the district with 56 percent in 2012.