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Club for Growth Encouraging Upton Primary Challenger

The Club for Growth is considering supporting a primary challenge to Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) next year.

Club spokesman Barney Keller said the conservative organization is “impressed” with former state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk, who is considering challenging Upton for a second time in 2012.

“The club met with Hoogendyk today and came away impressed,” Keller said. “We’re taking a look at the race.”

Upton has faced renewed scrutiny from conservatives since he became chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this year. After House Republicans appointed Upton to the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, conservatives groused.

But back home in Michigan, Upton has consistently won re-election by double-digit margins. Last year, Upton defeated Hoogendyk in the primary, 57 percent to 43 percent, although the Congressman heavily outspent his GOP challenger.

Hoogendyk has not announced a campaign yet. But the club’s statement is likely meant as encouragement for him to challenge Upton in the August primary.

“Hoogendyk has a good record in the Michigan Legislature, he voted against spending and tax increases,” Keller said. “And Fred Upton has a long record of voting for bigger government that’s inconsistent with our policy objectives.”

Keller pointed to Upton’s meager lifetime score of 54 on its Congressional Scorecard.

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