Tea Party group chooses sides in defining House primary race
The Republican primary in California’s 7th Congressional District will be one of the races worth watching next year as a retread, big spending ex-Congressman and a fresh-faced fiscal conservative square off for the right to challenge Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA).
FreedomWorks, which bills itself as a grassroots service center with more than 6 million members, is the first conservative group to get involved in the race. The organization’s PAC endorsed Igor Birman last week, becoming the first candidate they’ve endorsed in the 2014 election cycle.
“The choice is clear, Igor Birman is the only conservative in the race, and he will be a clear voice for common sense fiscal policies and a return to limited government in Congress,” said FreedomWorks PAC in a release announcing the endorsement.
Birman is running for the Republican nomination in CA-07 against three other candidates, including former Rep. Doug Ose (R-CA), a big spending Republican retread.
“We have a long campaign ahead of us,” said Birman, who served as a senior staffer to Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), in the release. “But with the backing of voters who want to see a return to limited government here in California and groups like FreedomWorks PAC who are fighting for limited government in Washington, I am confident we will have the support and resources we need to win the 7th Congressional district next year.”
Ose, who served in the House from 1999 to 2005, has drawn the ire of local conservatives who object to his record on fiscal issues from his time in Washington. In a letter to Ose, the California conservatives told the former representative that they would “actively oppose [his] candidacy,” noting his support of wasteful earmark spending and opposition to tax relief.
This isn’t the first time Ose has tried to weasel his way back into Congress. In 2008, he ran in a heated primary in CA-04, but was met with opposition from the Club for Growth, which hammered Ose over his fiscal record, calling him “one of the most liberal Republicans in the House” during his three-term stretch.
Ose lost to Tom McClintock, who was backed by fiscal conservative groups. The Club for Growth will likely oppose Ose this time around as well.