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How the Club for Growth beat Bob Bennett

The free-market PAC's spokesman, Mike Connolly, explains all to David Catanese. The rundown:

-- The Club for Growth spent only $177,750 against Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah), "largely on phone calls to delegates, online strategy, mailings and robo-calls."

-- The pivotal moment for Bennett, as many strategists told me, was the election of a new crop of conservative activists in the March 23 caucuses. Those activists, many coming out of the tea party movement, held Bennett's fate in their hands. And he never had a chance at the convention.

It emphasizes that as exciting as this story was, it's simply not repeatable in other states -- Utah's empowerment of the most dedicated activists, which lets them shrink the primary field to their two preferred candidates, is unprecedented.

And it's a reminder that, for most conservatives, the victory was Saturday. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), FreedomWorks, and other national conservatives have backed lawyer Mike Lee in the June 22 primary, but the Club has checked out and let the race between Lee and businessman Tim Bridgewater take its own path.

By David Weigel  |  May 10, 2010; 4:52 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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