Conservative PACs backing Rep. Renee Ellmers’ chief primary opponent

Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C.
Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C. AP

A primary challenger looking to upset three-term Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers this year has picked up another endorsement from a group charging the incumbent hasn’t held to conservative principles since her last election.

Eagle Forum PAC – a national political action committee that calls itself “pro-family” and was founded by Phyllis Schlafly – announced Wednesday it is backing Jim Duncan in North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District. Duncan, chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party, is one of four candidates running against Ellmers in the March GOP primary.

Ellmers has handily won re-election campaigns since 2012.

A news release from the group criticizes Ellmers and other Republican leaders in Congress for having “been complicit in funding (President Barack Obama’s) priorities.” The Eagle Forum PAC supports the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, has backed voter ID laws – which critics say disenfranchise poor and minority voters – and the group has chastised Republican lawmakers for not passing a federal ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The PAC also has endorsed Reps. Walter Jones and Mark Meadows, both Republicans of North Carolina.

Duncan, who has never run for office, also has picked up support recently from the Senate Conservatives Fund, Citizens United and the Club For Growth – groups that have helped tea party candidates win elections. On Wednesday, Duncan’s campaign started running TV ads in North Carolina.

In 2010, Ellmers was elected alongside other tea party politicians who ran anti-establishment campaigns. During her last election, she handily beat primary challenger Frank Roche and Democratic opponent Clay Aiken, a former “American Idol” contestant.

Ellmers has raised more than $715,000 during this election cycle and has about $411,000 on hand to spend campaigning, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, an organization that tracks candidate fundraising and money in politics.

Duncan has about $207,000 on hand, federal election disclosure reports show. About half of Duncan’s campaign coffer comes from his own personal donations to his campaign.

For both candidates, campaign cash figures are available only through Sept. 30, 2015, and do not reflect recent contributions.

Anna Douglas: 202-383-6012, @ADouglasNews