NRCC Has Record Month, Names Young Guns

February 10, 2010

The NRCC will report their best fundraising month in years later this month, and the party is confident that key recruits are on track to take back Dem-held House seats.

NRCC chair Pete Sessions told reporters on a conference call Wednesday the NRCC will report having raised $4.5M in Jan., ending the month with $4.1M in the bank and no debt. The cmte’s Jan. performance blew past its Dec. totals, when it raised just $3.2M. At the end of the year, the NRCC zeroed out its debt and had just $2.67M on hand.

The party also singled out 10 candidates who have reached the top of their Young Guns program after meeting high performance measurements. Candidates against Reps. Bobby Bright (D-AL), Walt Minnick (D-ID), Frank Kratovil (D-MD), Harry Teague (D-NM), Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH), Ron Klein (D-FL) and Steve Driehaus (D-OH).

GOPers also touted ex-state Rep. Dennis Ross (R), who is running for an open seat held by Rep. Adam Putnan (R-FL), along with candidates for open seats held by Reps. Vic Snyder (D-AR) and Joe Sestak (D-PA).

After a special election in MA in which Dems lost a Senate seat they had held since ’53, GOP leaders told reporters they are seeing real metrics to back up a general feeling that the wind is at the GOP’s back.

“It feels a lot like where we were in ’06,” said House Min. Whip Eric Cantor, citing Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-MA) win. “The race in Massachusetts speaks to that in volumes that the Democrats are trying to do everything they can politically and they can’t seem to gain the traction.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who heads recruiting efforts for the NRCC, pointed to retiring Dems who give GOPers a chance to pick up more seats at a lower cost. McCarthy predicted as many as 17 Dems could end up retiring, meaning he expects as many as 5 more announcements.

“It is now an open field,” McCarthy said. “We see a trend across the country,” added Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR). “We see some retirement opportunities.”

But the GOP still has serious hurdles to get over before they have clear shots at Dems. Of the 10 Young Guns announced today, 1 is running in a GOP-held seat and 2 others face competitive primaries. With Tea Party activists as angry with GOPers as they are with Dems, Sessions is walking a fine line between bestowing DC’s blessing on a candidate and turning them into the establishment’s choice — exactly what the NRCC hopes to avoid.

“We are not endorsing candidates under the Young Guns program. There is a process when the delegation and when we at the NRCC decide we want to endorse someone, but that is not a part of the process,” Sessions said.

Too, although the NRCC had a better fundraising month than anyone expected — announcing their monthly hauls 10 days before FEC reports are due is a sign of extraordinary confidence — the GOP has serious cash hurdles to overcome. Even if the DCCC did not improve its cash situation last month, Dems would still have more than a $10M advantage over the GOP.

Sessions admitted that members of the GOP Conference have not chipped in to his satisfaction, though he said last month’s GOP retreat to Baltimore yielded $500K in member transfers after presentations from key NRCC leaders like McCarthy, Walden and NRCC finance chair Jeb Hensarling.

“We have seen member money come in at less of a rate than we wanted,” Sessions said. “Across the board, we got a whole lot better at the retreat.”

Sessions predicted the party would have the money to compete and, thanks to the favorable national landscape, said Dems would need far more of an advantage than they currently have. “I don’t think the Democrats are going to have enough money when they see what’s going to happen in November,” he said.

Below the jump, a full list of the first 10 Young Guns.

The 10 Young Guns:

Montgomery city councillor Martha Roby (R), challenging Bright
Ex-US Atty Tim Griffin (R), running for Snyder’s seat
Ross, running for Putnam’s seat
Ret. Army officer Allan West (R), challenging Klein
Iraq war vet Vaughn Ward (R), challenging Minnick
State Sen. Andy Harris (R), challening Kratovil
Ex-Rep. Steve Pearce (R), running against Teague
State Sen. Steve Stivers (R), challenging Kilroy
Ex-Rep. Steve Chabot (R), challenging Driehaus
Ex-US Atty Pat Meehan (R), running for Sestak’s seat
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