Conservative Grassroots Challenge Chamber of Commerce in Idaho Race

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is getting more brazen in its fight to control the Republican Party, as the primary in Idaho between Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Tea Party challenger Bryan Smith shapes up to be a major front in the war.

Beginning Friday, the Associated Press reports, the Chamber will run an ad in Idaho supporting Simpson (pictured, right). "Mike Simpson, conservative, Idaho strong," the ad’s announcer says, according to early copies reviewed by the AP. The ad states that “the nation's free enterprise system is under attack” and shows Nancy Pelosi holding a gavel like one used by the Speaker of the House. “Pelosi and her allies want more government spending and more regulations. No way,” the ad continues. “Mike Simpson is fighting back, working for a balanced budget, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, fixing the Obamacare mess.”

Simpson is one of House Speaker John Boehner’s closest allies in the House of Representatives, often serving as his staunch defender. Simpson holds other ties of which conservatives can be suspicious. Just a couple weeks ago, a photograph of Simpson hanging out with now former MSNBC host and liberal actor Alec Baldwin emerged.

The Chamber faces opposition from grassroots-minded organizations like the Club For Growth in Idaho’s second district. There the Club endorsed Bryan Smith (pictured, left), a conservative attorney and relative newcomer to politics, who stepped up to run against Simpson. 

In response to the Chamber’s overtures on behalf of Simpson, Club for Growth president Chris Chocola said that the Chamber and the establishment at large is backing Simpson because they need him in Washington:

It’s no surprise that Mike Simpson is receiving support from his allies in Washington. Mike Simpson supported the $700 billion bailout out of Wall Street. The Chamber of Commerce supported the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street. Mike Simpson supported keeping all the spending in the Obama stimulus. The Chamber of Commerce supported the Obama stimulus. Mike Simpson supported raising the debt limit by trillions of dollars. The Chamber of Commerce supported raising the debt limit by trillions of dollars. I guess pro-bailout, pro-Obama stimulus spending, pro-debt birds of a feather flock together.

A spokesman for the Chamber of Commerce has not immediately responded to a request for comment from Breitbart News. But in response to this battle, Simpson campaign spokeswoman Sarah Nelson argued that the Club for Growth is a Washington, D.C., based special interest group. Nelson wrote in an email:

These Washington D.C. special interest groups can continue to try to distort the truth, but the fact is the US Chamber represents small businesses in communities across Idaho. Through efforts ranging from fighting to repeal Obamacare, and its devastating impact on Idaho businesses, to cutting the EPA's budget in order to protect Idaho farmers and ranchers, Congressman Simpson has always been a strong champion of Idaho small business owners.  He is pleased to have the support of business groups like the Chamber of Commerce, along with many small business leaders throughout Idaho.


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