In my estimation, these are both terrific candidates. While I don't know Graves personally, conservatives in Georgia have said great things about him. Huelskamp, of course, is a well-known and popular conservative leader in Kansas and someone my relatives in Kansas think very highly of.The political action committee for the conservative Club for Growth on Monday endorsed two 2010 House candidates who are each competing against multiple Republicans in open seat races: state Sen. Tim Huelskamp in Kansas' 1st District; and state Rep. Tom Graves in Georgia's 9th District.
The endorsements offer each candidate a boost from the right as they battle many GOP challengers in pursuit of their party's nomination in Safe Republican seats.
"Both candidates are proven conservative leaders with strong records in support of pro-growth fiscal policies," the Club for Growth said in a statement.
As the Club for Growth's website says,
"Tim Huelskamp stands out as a champion of limited government and economic freedom," said Club President Chris Chocola. "Unlike some of the other Republicans in this race, Tim has compiled an impressive record and demonstrated the leadership skills necessary to fight for free-market policies in Congress."Huelskamp has previously received a ton of endorsements from individuals and groups like Kansans for Life, Concerned Women PAC, and the Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund. The Club for Growth endorsement is, without a doubt, the largest and most significant endorsement a conservative Congressional candidate can receive.
My guess is that this Club for Growth endorsement will finally push national conservatives to fully coalesce around Huelskamp, just as Kansas conservatives already have. You see, while Huelskamp has received overwhelming backing from a diverse collection of conservative groups, ranging from Kansans for Life and the Club for Growth, a few DC conservative 'insiders' have been working against him. For example, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List has recently endorsed -- and even personally donated money to -- one of Huelskamp's opponents. Frankly, the person she is supporting does not have a prayer, but her endorsement has created confusion amongst a small number of conservatives who do not live in Kansas according to my family members.
The real danger, of course, is that if conservatives -- even DC conservatives -- do not immediately rally around TIm Huelskamp -- who, if there was ever a doubt, is now the clear conservative front runner for this seat -- liberal Jim Barnett may win. As I have noted before, Jim Barnett is a liberal self-funder who previously ran for Kansas governor and is personally close with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius - not resume material for conservatives by a long shot..
Thank goodness that the Club for Growth is out there getting behind solid conservative candidates such as Huelskamp and Graves in the primaries! If history is any indication, we can expect these two men to win. I have a feeling 2010 is going to be a good year.