Yesterday, NRO interviewed Sal Russo, the chief strategist for the Tea Party Express, who had high praise for Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah), who’s up for reelection in 2012. Amy Kremer, TPE’s chairman, then e-mailed us her own take, which was not as complimentary. Now, the Club for Growth PAC, led by former Rep. Chris Chocola of Indiana, is weighing in:
The Club for Growth PAC today responded to comments made by Sal Russo, “chief strategist” of Tea Party Express, who yesterday announced the group would not oppose six-term Republican incumbent Senator Orrin Hatch in 2012. Russo explained his decision based on his 35-year relationship with Hatch, and Hatch’s support for Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign in 1976, noting that in Russo’s opinion that makes Hatch “as good as it gets.”
“While Senator Hatch’s activity in the 1976 presidential campaign is commendable, a lot can change in 35 years,” said Club President Chris Chocola. “Senator Hatch has a lower lifetime average on the Club for Growth’s Congressional Scorecard than his former colleague Bob Bennett for a reason. Orrin Hatch has done some good things over the decades, but six term incumbents who vote for TARP, the Bridge to Nowhere, the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac bailout, SCHIP, and higher taxes are quite clearly not ‘as good as it gets,’” Chocola said.
The Club for Growth PAC played an instrumental role in the defeat of former Senator Bob Bennett at the 2010 Utah GOP convention, and was pleased to support now-Senator Mike Lee in the general election.
Chocola concluded, “We have made no decision about the upcoming Utah Senate race, but when we do, our decision will be about improving the Senate in 2013, not 1977.”