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Club for Growth backs 5 Republicans, including Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio

via @lesleyclark

The conservative group Club for Growth’s political action committee is steering donations to five Republicans, calling on members to donate to Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, along with Gov. Scott Walker and former Gov. Jeb Bush.

The influential club says the unprecedented move does not mean an official endorsement, but president David McIntosh said the five “are at the forefront of the Republican presidential field on issues of economic freedom, and the Club for Growth PAC is standing with them to help them stand out from the rest.”

The unusual intervention comes as real estate tycoon Donald Trump rises in Republican presidential primary polls, much to the dismay of the conservative tax group. Trump on the campaign trail has accused the group of writing a bad review of him because he wouldn’t contribute $1 million.

Club for Growth, which has prepared "white papers" for the presidential candidates’ economic plans did not do so for Trump. A spokesman in June said that Trump had indicated an interest in donating to the group. "But that doesn’t change the fact that the Club for Growth PAC thinks he’s an unserious candidate and would make a terrible president, just as we publicly pointed out during his last political publicity stunt in 2011," spokesman Doug Sachtleben said at the time.

McIntosh says the senators, whom the group helped elect, have backed pro-growth issues in the Senate and that Walker’s battle with public unions in Wisconsin “was nothing less than heroic. Bush, he said, “amassed a solid record on tax cuts as governor of Florida.”

The group’s take on Bush was that he would “generally govern as a pro-growth conservative,” but said it “would also not be surprised to have some disappointments along the way.”

--LESLEY CLARK, McClatchy Washington Bureau