By Scott Bland
March 21, 2012
The National Republican Congressional Committee and House GOP leaders invited 15 of their marquee recruits to Washington this week for a “candidate school” — several days of workshops and speeches by top House Republicans — according to a campaign aide whose candidate attended.
The 15 House candidates asked by leadership to attend the session are among the strongest GOP challengers in the country this year. Five are candidates reprising 2010 runs that finished as five of the nine nearest GOP misses in 2010: Randy Altschuler (NY-01), Andy Barr (KY-06), Matt Doheny (NY-21), Jackie Walorski (IN-02) and Keith Rothfus (PA-12). The other 10 candidates invited were Joe Coors (CO-07), Steve Daines (MT-AL), Ricky Gill (CA-09), Abel Maldonado (CA-24), Rick Snuffer (WV-03), John Tavaglione (CA-41), Richard Tisei (MA-06), David Valadao (CA-21), Kim Vann (CA-03), and Ann Wagner (MO-02).
Many of the sessions briefed candidates on nuts-and-bolts campaign subjects like fundraising, media training, and harnessing new media. But several focused on nationalizing House Republicans’ 2012 campaign message: Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy’s presentation, which he gave Tuesday night, was titled “Fighting Washington.”
Events over the two-day session included meeting with the whole Republican conference on Tuesday and speeches and presentations by GOP leaders including NRCC Chair Pete Sessions, McCarthy and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. The candidates will meet Speaker John Boehner Wednesday evening.
The candidates, 10 of whom are in the highest current designation of the NRCC’s “Young Guns” challengers program, are a mix of the party’s best fundraisers and those running in districts that are the among the best pickup opportunities. At the end of the last Federal Elections Commission reporting period, nine of the candidates were among the top 20 GOP challengers in the country in terms of cash on-hand. At the end of last year, Wagner and Tisei posted the two best non-incumbent fundraising quarters among all Republicans nationwide.