Several months after their elections, freshman House Republicans will get a rude awakening to the realities of Congressional campaigns: It’s time to pay your dues.
The National Republican Congressional Committee is kicking off its official dues drive Wednesday morning at the Capitol Hill Club, where the newly dubbed “Dues Brothers,” Reps. Tom Cole (Okla.) and Kevin Brady (Texas), will formally begin hitting up the GOP caucus for campaign funds for the 2012 cycle.
House GOP leadership has traditionally pushed its colleagues to pay their dues to the NRCC in the odd-numbered years — as well as repeatedly during the rest of the cycle. But with a particularly large freshman class, the NRCC is embarking on a whole new venture to get many of the newbies they just helped elect to give back to the committee.
“I think [freshmen are] absolutely critical. They’re a third of our class. Quite a few of them got help from the NRCC to get here,” Cole, a former NRCC chairman, told Roll Call. “A number of these freshmen have never had to do anything like this before, so getting them involved is really critical.”
Cole said he and Brady have set a goal of raising $8 million from Members this year — $2.8 million of which has already been brought in from GOP Members through transfers or fundraising, according to the NRCC’s internal calculations.
Many of the freshmen on the dues whipping team were supported by the NRCC early last cycle, quickly achieving the NRCC’s seal of approval as Young Guns candidates. The team will be charged with pumping funds from their freshman colleagues, some of whom did not benefit from the NRCC’s targeted spending last cycle and might be less inclined to give their hard-earned cash to the committee.
“We’ve had a lot of great people that we’re assigned to, people that I haven’t had a chance to get to know that well,” Gardner said. “Obviously everybody has a lot of work to do for their own efforts, but recognize the fact that when we advance in 2012, we’ll have an even greater ability to strengthen our economy.”