The Dispatch: Club for Growth Official Mulls a Senate Run in Virginia

In early February, the anti-tax Club for Growth gave reporters a preview of its super PAC’s 2024 Senate playbook—spend millions boosting economic conservative candidates in Democrat-held battlegrounds, particularly in redder swing states like West Virginia and Montana.

But the organization’s deep pockets could also come in handy next cycle in bluer Virginia, where the group’s vice president of government affairs, Scott Parkinson, is considering challenging Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine. Parkinson confirmed in an interview that he recently met with senior officials at the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) about a potential 2024 bid. 

“I’m strongly considering running for the United States Senate,” Parkinson told The Dispatch.

A run against Kaine—Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate who previously served as Virginia’s lieutenant governor and governor—would be an uphill climb for Parkinson, a Wisconsin native and first-time candidate who lives in the northern Virginia suburb of Arlington with his wife and four kids. Kaine beat Republican challenger Corey Stewart in 2018 by 16 points.

But Parkinson has an impressive résumé. His 17 years in politics include serving as executive director of the House Republican Study Committee, time at the NRSC, and brief stints in the offices of GOP Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Marco Rubio of Florida, and John Ensign of Nevada. Most notably, he also served as chief of staff to former GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis before working on his gubernatorial transition team in Florida.

That Rolodex could pay dividends on the campaign trail in terms of both fundraising and endorsements. Not to mention his connections to the Club’s super PAC arm, Club for Growth Action, which spent more than $38 million last cycle in Senate Republican primaries last cycle and is aware of Parkinson’s interest in running. 

“Scott Parkinson would make a great senator,” Club for Growth President David McIntosh said in a statement.

This early in campaign season it’s still unclear who will jump into the Republican field. One prospective candidate is Navy veteran and Vietnamese refugee Hung Cao, who lost to Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton in Virginia’s 10th District by 6.6 points in November. The Dispatch first reported Cao’s interest in running this month.

The Dispatch: Club for Growth Official Mulls a Senate Run in Virginia

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