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McCotter said it is helpful that Rogers has actually walked the walk in terms of enduring a competitive race. Its an experience that might help McCotter, whom House Democrats have indicated they plan to target in 2010.
Rogers also aids the most vulnerable caucus Members with fundraising, including setting up meet-and-greets with political action committees. A Republican lobbyist familiar with Rogers called him aggressive and said he had a no-nonsense attitude when it comes to working with Members.
He wont take a lot of crap and bullshit from Members who are like, Oh, Im doing all the right things, the Republican lobbyist said. I think hell hold them to task to make sure they are doing the right thing.
One senior GOP operative remarked that donors like Rogers because of his charisma and his ability to understand how issues play differently in various parts of the country.
He communicates well and knows how politics meets policy, the operative said. Many Members are in denial or are tone deaf on this.
Those close to him also believe donors like him because he has long been viewed as having higher ambitions and he could run for a House leadership position, such as NRCC chairman, or statewide in Michigan someday. But Rogers denied that he sees his NRCC role as a stepping stone to higher office.
Like McCotter, Rep. Dave Reichert (Wash.) is one of the NRCCs first participating members in the Patriot program. After surviving two tough cycles in a Democratic-leaning district, Reichert said he quickly signed up for the program when he met with Rogers earlier this year. A former county sheriff made famous for catching the Green River killer, Reichert said Rogers law enforcement background helped prepare him for his current role and to face any situation.
In my case, Ive had my throat cut with a butcher knife, Ive had all kinds of experiences where my life has been threatened, Ive been spit on, Ive been called every dirty name in the book, and I imagine Mike has too, Reichert said. So when people up here get upset with you or get irritated with you or the pressure gets intense, you sort of fall into this calm demeanor cop thing, where OK, just everybody take a deep breath and calm down for a minute and lets talk about this. Now what are the facts?
The framed handcuffs on Rogers wall were used to arrest the president of the town of Cicero, Ill., and handful of her corrupt mob members for stealing millions from the town. As an FBI agent, Rogers helped build the case against them including taking surveillance photos of the culprits at their Wisconsin home from a faux picnic set up across the lake. Rogers went to testify in the case when he was state Senator.
Chuck Yob, a former Republican National Committeeman from Michigan, has known Rogers since he ran for the state Senate in 1994. He also described Rogers as aggressive but said he was well-liked by his Senate colleagues in Michigan.
Of course some people dont like aggressive people, so youll always have that, Yob said. But I think hes a very positive guy here among his cohorts.