Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va., has earned the distinction of being the lone U.S. senator to earn a score of zero from the conservative Club for Growth in its latest congressional scorecard, released today.
The five-term senator has said he does not plan to seek re-election in November 2014, and the Club is already vying to find a replacement more in line with its agenda of limited government spending, income tax rate reduction, tort reform and deregulation.
It could bring significant resources to any potential upcoming contest.
During the 2012 election cycle, the Club's super PAC, called Club for Growth Action, spent nearly $17 million on advertisements that expressly advocated for the election or defeat of federal candidates, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of records filed with the Federal Election Commission.
That sum included more than $5.6 million on ads aiding Republican Ted Cruz during the hotly contested U.S. Senate primary in Texas.
The money also went toward more than $3.6 million worth of ads in Indiana's U.S. Senate race, where the Club supported Republican Richard Mourdock, and about $2.4 million on ads in Arizona's U.S. Senate race, where the Club backed Republican Rep. Jeff Flake, who this year is being given the Club's "Defender of Economic Freedom Award."
So far, West Virginia Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is the only GOP candidate who has announced her intentions to seek Rockefeller's seat. But the Club for Growth hopes she won't be the last.
Last year, Club for Growth President Chris Chocola issued a statement critizing Capito for having an "anti-growth record," and she ranked only 214th among members of the U.S. House of Representatives, with a score of 57 percent, in the Club's new scorecard. Fewer than three dozen Republicans who served in the House last year ranked lower than Capito.
Meanwhile, the Club's new scorecard gives perfect scores to two senators — Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rand Paul, R-Ky. — and three House members — Justin Amash, R-Mich., Paul Broun, R-Ga., and Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas.