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NRCC Taps 15 More for ‘Patriot’ Program

The National Republican Congressional Committee on Thursday will name 15 more Members to its “Patriot” program to boost the party’s most vulnerable incumbents in 2010, bringing its membership to 25.

NRCC Incumbent Retention Chairman Mike Rogers (Mich.) is scheduled to present the list of Members — all of whom have reached specific fundraising and campaign goals — at the weekly GOP leadership and NRCC meeting Thursday morning.

According to a list obtained by Roll Call, the 15 new Members named to the program are: Mike Rogers (Ala.), Mary Bono Mack (Calif.), Bill Posey (Fla.), Tom Rooney (Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Lynn Jenkins (Kan.), John Fleming (La.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (Mo.), Lee Terry (Neb.), Scott Garrett (N.J.), Dean Heller (Nev.), Charlie Dent (Pa.) and Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.).

The Patriot program was created this cycle and is designed to hold Members accountable for their own re-election campaigns. If the incumbent does not meet certain benchmarks for fundraising and infrastructure, they will not get financial help from the NRCC.

According to an NRCC official, the 15 new program members will compete for 10 spots on the next scheduled “Patriot Day” — a single-day fundraising blitz that brought in almost $100,000 in contributions for each of the 10 original Patriot program members when it debuted in June.

The original list of members was veteran Reps. Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.), Dan Lungren (Calif.), Ken Calvert (Calif.), Brian Bilbray (Calif.), Dave Reichert (Wash.) and Judy Biggert (Ill.), plus freshmen Reps. Anh “Joseph” Cao (La.), Erik Paulsen (Minn.), Leonard Lance (N.J.) and Chris Lee (N.Y.).

“Chairman Sessions couldn’t be more pleased with the job Mike Rogers has done as head of the NRCC’s incumbent retention efforts,” NRCC Communications Director Ken Spain said. “The success of the Patriot program speaks for itself, and it will ensure that Republicans are playing offense, not defense in 2010.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has already indicated that it plans to target several of the Members in the Patriot program by recruiting candidates to run against them. Democrats recruited what they consider to be top-tier challengers to run against Bono Mack, Terry, Biggert and Dent.

In fact, Republicans are the first to admit that the Patriot program is modeled after the DCCC’s “Frontline” program, which has aided Democrats’ most vulnerable incumbents since the 2004 cycle. The DCCC has named 42 Members to Frontline so far this year.

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