ICYMI: David McIntosh “Might Just Be The Most Powerful Person In Republican Primary Politics”

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In Case You Missed It, Nathan Gotsch of Fort Wayne Politics published a story on Club for Growth Action’s David McIntosh’s work to secure Marlin Stutzman’s victory in the IN-03 Republican primary. Club for Growth Action also saw two other Indiana victories last night with Rep. Jim Banks’ Republican Senate primary wins and Sen. Mike Braun’s win in the primary for Governor.

To arrange an interview with McIntosh, contact Club for Growth Vice President of Communications Joe Kildea at [email protected].

EXCERPTS

EXCLUSIVE: Meet the man who put Marlin Stutzman over the top

Club for Growth Action president David McIntosh talks with Fort Wayne Politics about his Super PAC’s decisive ads against Tim Smith and Wendy Davis in the Congressional campaign’s closing days

Fort Wayne Politics, By Nathan Gotsch

Hours later, Stutzman squeaked out a victory over Davis and second-place finisher Tim Smith, who fell short of winning by just over a thousand votes.

Fifteen feet away from Banks, David McIntosh, the man whose ads against Davis and Smith had helped Stutzman win, stood in the back of the room, mostly unnoticed.

What the other attendees didn’t seem to realize is that, outside of Donald Trump, the former three-term Congressman (1995-2001) and special assistant to President Ronald Reagan standing in their midst might just be the most powerful person in Republican primary politics.

Maybe that’s because it’s not McIntosh’s style to seek the spotlight.

“I try to be humble about what I do,” he told me in an exclusive interview Tuesday night after Banks’ address.

Since 2014, the Kendallville native has been president of the Club for Growth, a DC-based organization which Axios called “one of the most consequential groups within Republican politics.”

The Club for Growth’s Super PAC, Club for Growth Action, is believed to be the largest independent Super PAC on the GOP side. In the 2022 election cycle, Club for Growth Action and its affiliated organizations spent around $150 million to influence House and Senate races, and that number will likely be even larger in 2024.

In Northeast Indiana, Club for Growth Action spent more than $750,000 in support of Marlin Stutzman, according to a release they put out after Stutzman was declared the winner.

McIntosh said getting behind Stutzman wasn’t a difficult decision for them.

“One of the biggest factors was [Stutzman’s] score on the Club for Growth’s [annual economic] scorecard [when he was in Congress]. He was a ‘defender of economic freedom,’ which means you’re 90 percent and higher,” McIntosh told me. “I think he averaged 93 percent over his career. And that says something.”

Backing Stutzman meant the Club for Growth PAC would use their Super PAC’s unlimited funds to try to take out the two biggest threats to his candidacy: Davis and Smith.

Last week, they ran an ad that called Davis “Woke Wendy” and “DEI Davis,” both terms that are toxic to many GOP primary voters.

It was built around audio of her speaking at a non-partisan forum on religious freedom that was aired in early 2020 on WBOI, Northeast Indiana’s public radio station.

McIntosh, who was one of the co-founders of the influential Federalist Society — a group that sparked the conservative judicial movement — said he was shocked by some of Davis’ answers in that recording.

“We’ve tried to have judges that didn’t think of the Constitution as a living, breathing document,” he told me. “Her position on that told me she doesn’t have good instincts for what a conservative would do in Congress.”

McIntosh said he worried that if elected, Davis would kowtow to pressure to “forget conservatism, vote for the spending” in order to get re-elected.

One GOP insider said that days before the election, Smith was telling people the Club for Growth Action’s ads against him were too powerful for him to overcome. He knew any chance he had to win the race was over.

PAID FOR BY CLUB FOR GROWTH ACTION AND NOT AUTHORIZED BY ANY CANDIDATE OR CANDIDATE'S COMMITTEE. (202) 955-5500