In a long-expected decision, the Club for Growth announced Tuesday it is endorsing state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in his challenge to unseat Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.
The fiscally conservative organization is headed by Chris Chocola, a former congressman in Indiana’s 2nd District. Chocola has been publicly critical of Lugar since at least last April, and his Washington, D.C.-based group ran TV ads in July that condemned Lugar for his support of federal aid to banks and automakers.
Chocola said Tuesday in an statement that Lugar has “voted for bigger government, more spending, and he even recently voted against a permanent ban on congressional pork. Richard Mourdock will vote to limit government, repeal ObamaCare, and will help bring back the jobs lost to the Obama’s economic policies.”
Chocola also wrote a column endorsing Mourdock in Tuesday’s National Review Online. His main criticism of Lugar was the senator’s support of earmarks – projects funded by Congress that benefit a member’s district or state.
Mourdock’s campaign has begun running cable TV ads chiding Lugar for favoring earmarks, notably Alaska’s “bridge to nowhere,” a rain forest in Iowa and a teapot museum.
In response, David Willkie, political director for Lugar’s campaign, said in a statement Monday, “If we get rid of congressional earmarks, we give (President) Obama and liberal bureaucrats total control over Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars.”
On Tuesday, Lugar’s campaign said he had earned a 100 percent rating for his positions on issues important to the National Association of Manufacturers.