A Republican political group that has come to N.C. Congresswoman Renee Ellmers’ aid in the past formally endorsed her for re-election Wednesday, illustrating a persistent gap between some incumbent GOP members of Congress and their challengers.
Defending Main Street’s announcement came one day after another conservative political action committee, Club for Growth, endorsed Ellmers’ opponent in the GOP primary, Jim Duncan.
Defending Main Street is a super PAC connected to Main Street Advocacy, which in July bought radio and digital ads thanking Ellmers for her support of the Import-Export Bank. The Club for Growth spent $1 million on TV ads in nine congressional districts, including Ellmers’ 2nd Congressional District, asking incumbents to oppose re-authorizing the bank.
On Tuesday, Club for Growth said Ellmers, who lives in Dunn, had not been a reliable conservative in Congress. She won the seat with Tea Party help. On Wednesday, Steve LaTourette, a former GOP congressman who runs an apparatus for re-electing Republicans — Defending Main Street, Main Street Advocacy and Main Street Partners groups — countered that view:
“After a perfect record of defeats last cycle against Main Street candidates and being beaten like a drum, it’s apparent that the Club for Growth may have a new president but hasn’t learned their lesson. Rather than save their efforts to defeat Democrats who want to raise taxes and expand government, they’re focused on internecine battles within the Republican Party.
“It’s more than telling that one of the votes they criticize Rep. Ellmers for was legislation written by our party’s new Speaker, Paul Ryan. Defending Main Street Super PAC is proud to support Renee Ellmers and will again take the Club to the woodshed and insure her re-election as our party’s standard bearer in North Carolina’s Second Congressional District.”
Defending Main Street spent $1.6 million on the 2014 federal elections, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.