Fiscally Conservative Group Club For Growth Announces Opposition To Rick Berg Senate Bid

A stinging rebuke for Rep. Rick Berg from the folks at the Club for Growth (former headed by current Senator Pat Toomey):

Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.) has a lot Republican admirers who wouldn’t mind seeing him run for the Senate next year, but on Thursday, the Club For Growth PAC made clear they are not one of them.

“The country needs the next Senator from North Dakota to have a pro-growth agenda in the U.S. Senate,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola, in a statement. “Congressman Rick Berg lacks leadership in addressing our nation’s spending problem at a time when people want government to spend less, not more. The Republican Party can and should demand better.”

The Club for Growth, an organization dedicated to fiscally conservative principles, cited several votes Berg took against spending cuts.

North Dakota’s rapid growth in spending, faster since 2003 than the federal government’s spending, is going to be a tough obstacle for any North Dakota legislator looking to go to Washington DC. At least for conservatives anyway. Berg has also stated in town hall meetings recently that he will vote to raise the national debt ceiling, something not very pleasing to fiscally conservative ears.

The article quotes a Club for Growth spokesman as saying there were “rumblings” about an as-yet unannounced candidate for the Senate in North Dakota but the spokesman wouldn’t disclose a name.

I can say that it’s likely Bob Harms, who is the president of Citizens for Responsible Government, a member of the newly-formed North Dakota Tea Party Caucus, a lobbyist and former legal counsel to the administrations of Governors John Hoeven and Ed Schafer. Harms is also the current treasurer for the NDGOP and a board member of the North Dakota Taxpayer’s Association.

The Club for Growth has spent a lot of money in past congressional elections. If they have someone targeted in North Dakota, that person could have a serious advantage.

Update: Here’s the posting on the organization’s website where they explain their justification Berg and it looks like it’s based mostly on votes he’s already cast in his first 100+ days in office:

Congressman Berg voted against cutting $100 million for community service block grants (RCV #72)
Congressman Berg voted against cutting $446.9 million from AMTRAK (RCV #79)
Congressman Berg voted against cutting $134 million in wasteful EPA programs (RCV #58, RCV #63)
Congressman Berg voted against reducing spending to FY06 levels (RCV #143)
Congressman Berg voted against the conservative Republican Study Committee’s substitute budget (RCV #275)

This seems like pretty slim pickings on which to base opposition to Berg.

Update: The Washington Post has picked the story up as well.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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