Conservative Group Targeting Moderate Republicans

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Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, reacts as he is wished 'Happy Birthday' by reporters while Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa, left, and Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., look on at the end of a press conference on Nov. 17, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, reacts as he is wished ‘Happy Birthday’ by reporters while Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa, left, and Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., look on at the end of a press conference on Nov. 17, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Political committees tied to the conservative Club for Growth are launching television ads targeting moderate Republicans in Texas, Michigan and Pennsylvania beginning Tuesday.

Club for Growth Action and Club for Growth PAC collectively will spend more than $500,000 on the ads.

In Texas, two 15-second advertisements are aimed at Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, a frontrunner in the GOP primary for an open Senate seat. Dewhurst is running in a crowded Republican primary, where the Club for Growth has endorsed former Texas solicitor general Ted Cruz. The ads target Dewhurst’s past support for business and sales tax increases, among other issues.

The Michigan spot targets Rep. Fred Upton, the chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The ad focuses on Upton’s votes for the Wall Street bailout and congressional earmarks.

In Pennsylvania, two 15-second advertisements will focus on Rep. Tim Murphy, including his past support for earmarks.

In each race, a conservative opponent has entered or is considering entering the Republican primary. The Club for Growth has so far only endorsed in the Texas Senate primary.

Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller said the group and its political arms are likely to run more ads going forward. He called Tuesday’s announcement “only the beginning” of the group’s efforts. The ads are expected to run for about two weeks each.

The Club for Growth is a conservative group focused on tax and economic policy issues. The group previously has targeted incumbent Republicans it views as insufficiently conservative.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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