Club for Growth Action Scores First Victory of the 2020 Cycle in PA-12 Special Election


This past Saturday, Club for Growth Action scored its first victory of the 2020 election cycle, defeating an establishment candidate and helping a conservative clinch the Republican nomination in the special election in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District.

On March 2, Republican conferees gathered to pick the GOP nominee in the race to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Tom Marino. Going into the convention, state rep. Jeff Wheeland was considered the establishment favorite, but Club for Growth Action couldn’t let him get the nomination.

See, Wheeland is a habitual tax hiker who has voted for an array of higher taxes, including a death tax, a rain tax, a plastic bag tax, higher income and sales taxes, and a host of fees. Wheeland is also a big-government liberal who has voted for more regulation, more mandates, and huge spending hikes.

Club for Growth Action sent four 12×15 mail pieces to each conferee, highlighting Wheeland’s most egregious offenses. Then, we e-mailed and mailed via FedEx a comprehensive report on Wheeland’s big-government record to each conferee.

Wheeland dropped out of the race Saturday morning, before the convention even got underway.

The Associated Press credits Club for Growth Action with Wheeland’s defeat:

The field opened up a bit for Keller on Saturday after state Rep. Jeff Wheeland dropped out amid attacks by the Washington, D.C.-based anti-tax group  Club for Growth[Action].

Wheeland himself blamed Club for Growth Action for his downfall, according to

“He explained he was one of the candidates attacked by Club for Growth [Action]… “It was a perfect hit job,” he said.

After several rounds of voting, state Rep. Fred Keller beat 13 other candidates for the Republican nomination. Keller is described by the Associated Press as “one of the most conservative state House members.” He will face Democrat Marc Friedenberg on May 21st, but is expected to prevail in this R+17 seat.

Barely two months into 2019, conservatives are already sending a loud and clear message: We are playing for keeps.