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Club for Growth Says GOP Freshmen Not Tea Party Enough

Updated: 3:32 p.m.

The Club for Growth, a conservative group known for funding primary challenges against incumbent Republicans, released a report today unloading on GOP House freshmen for straying from the “tea party” ideals on which they campaigned.

The report, based on the group’s annual vote scorecard, aggressively challenged the freshmen for their alleged ideological failures, including calling out some of the biggest names in the class.

“Tea party star” Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) “received an anemic 64% for voting to raise the debt ceiling and by repeatedly voting against spending cuts,” the release said.

“The two freshmen in the Republican Leadership received vastly different scores, with Rep. Tim Scott [S.C.] receiving a 92% and Rep. Kristi Noem [S.D.] receiving a 60%,” the release said.

The 87 freshmen, a historically large group, ran for office at the height of tea party protests against President Barack Obama’s stimulus and health care laws, leading to predictions that the group would drive the GOP to the right on spending issues.

To an extent, that’s been true, but a group of veteran conservative lawmakers have pushed the Conference toward conservative policies more often.

While GOP leadership offices have sought to downplay the role of a rogue tea-party-infused freshman class, the Club for Growth marks the most pronounced attack on that idea from the right.

The report highlights that most freshman Republicans voted against the budget offered by the Republican Study Committee, which represents the conservative faction of the GOP Conference.

It also spotlights remarks made by Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.) during his campaign that the tea party’s agenda is “exactly the same as mine.”

Bass, who represents a Democratic-leaning district and is considered one of the most vulnerable Republicans facing re-election, “received a pathetic 48%,” according to the club’s scorecard.

The 10 freshman Republicans with the highest scores were Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.), Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), Raul Labrador (Idaho), Mick Mulvaney (S.C.), Joe Walsh (Ill.), Marlin Stutzman (Ind.), Ben Quayle (Ariz.), Jeff Duncan (S.C.), Trey Gowdy (S.C.) and Dennis Ross (Fla.).

The 10 lowest-scoring freshmen were Reps. David Rivera (Fla.), Michael Grimm (N.Y.), Steve Stivers (Ohio), Jon Runyan (N.J.), Chris Gibson (N.Y.), Richard Hanna (N.Y.), Mike Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Robert Dold (Ill.), Patrick Meehan (Pa.) and David McKinley (W.Va.).

Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.), the president of the freshman class, scored an 85 percent.

“Just because the Republicans have a majority does not mean that more pro-growth policies have been passed,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola, a former Indiana Republican Representative.

“For example, a majority of Republicans voted to raise the debt ceiling, against spending cuts and for wasteful subsidies. Republicans rail against the National Labor Relations Board, but some voted to keep funding it. By distributing this report to club members and the public, we hope to raise awareness about the records of the Republican freshmen and believe their constituents will ask what’s happened since they went to Washington.”

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