Feb. 12, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

NRCC’s Recruiting Aim: Stay on Offense

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Rep. Steve Scalise is serving as the National Republican Congressional Committee’s vice chairman for recruitment. The Louisiana Republican says the team will stay on offense.

"There's an acknowledgement that Sessions, as chairman of the NRCC, doesn't need a Texan on the recruitment committee and can take care of that himself," Stivers said.

Once again this cycle, Republicans will be on the lookout for "community leaders" such as Fincher, who was one of their most-touted recruits last cycle. A gospel singer and farmer, Fincher jumped into the race against then-Rep. John Tanner early on in the cycle, before the 11-term Democrat announced his retirement.

The NRCC continued to back Fincher throughout the GOP primary, even though the committee typically remains neutral in primaries. Now Republicans, including Scalise, hold up Fincher as the "poster child" for solid early recruits.

Scalise and Stivers emphasized existing recruitment successes, such as Andy Barr in Kentucky. Barr narrowly lost his challenge to Rep. Ben Chandler in 2010, but he announced last month that he'll try a second time to unseat the Democrat.

"I think he's going to be one of our successful candidates, and there's going to be more to come," Scalise boasted.

Stivers said he's spoken with 25 potential candidates across the country so far this cycle. Seven of those candidates have already announced campaigns, including former Ambassador Ann Wagner for an open seat in Missouri.

Wagner and attorney Ed Martin are facing off in the GOP primary for Rep. Todd Akin's (R) seat. Akin is running for Senate.

"We are not picking one candidate over the other," Stivers said. "The Young Guns program is open to all candidates. I've talked to her, and I'm sure some people have talked to her primary opponents as well."

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