House GOP Names 10 New Incumbents to Protect
The National Republican Congressional Committee is adding 10 Members to its 2012 incumbent-protection program.
The new Members being added today to the Patriot Program include three vulnerable freshmen — GOP Reps. Rick Crawford (Ark.), Joe Walsh (Ill.) and Dan Benishek (Mich.) — and seven Members whose districts were made more difficult in the decennial redistricting process.
Reps. Dan Lungren (Calif.), Gary Miller (Calif.), Brian Bilbray (Calif.), Scott Tipton (Colo.), Mike Coffman (Colo.), Timothy Johnson (Ill.) and Roscoe Bartlett (Md.) are all running in districts less favorable to the GOP than they had in 2010.
The NRCC’s Patriot Program, founded in 2009, sets fundraising and organizational benchmarks for Members’ campaigns, trying to keep them on track in marginal districts. The 10 new “Patriots” mean there are now 30 Republicans in the program this cycle.
Republicans are on defense after a huge GOP wave in 2010 wiped out more than 50 House Democrats. The minority party needs to pick up 25 seats to take back control of the House.
“The Patriot Program is about staying on offense by building strong and winning campaigns against Democrats and their agenda that bankrupts our nation,” NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) said in a statement. “Patriot Members have demonstrated the leadership and ability to wage aggressive campaigns based on rigorous goals and proven strategies for victory.”
Republicans held the power of the redistricting pen in many states this cycle, endangering several Democratic Members in places such as North Carolina, Ohio and Michigan. However, in states such as Illinois, Colorado and Maryland, where a Democratic legislature or a court drew Democratic-leaning maps, multiple GOP incumbents face a tough road. Also, in California, an independent redistricting commission gave Democrats a boost and put some GOP Members in competitive races due to unfamiliar territory.
“An iron-clad campaign spells defeat for Democrats vying to return Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.] as Speaker,” NRCC Deputy Chairman Greg Walden (Ore.) said in a statement. “I applaud the Patriot Members for taking on the challenge of controlling the competitiveness of their races through the strength of their own campaigns.”
“Republicans are defending even more of their own Members — but they can’t defend these Members from their indefensible votes,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Jesse Ferguson said in a statement. “All the money in the world can’t overcome Republicans’ relentless protection of the ultra-wealthy at the expense of Medicare for seniors and tax cuts for the middle class.”
he NRCC will hold its third Patriot Program fundraiser next month. A September Patriot event pulled in a hefty
$1.5 million for Members in the program.
Already in the 2012 Patriot Program are: Reps. Tom Latham (Iowa), Allen West (Fla.), Sean Duffy (Wis.), Patrick Meehan (Pa.), Lou Barletta (Pa.), Mike Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Charles Bass (N.H.), Frank Guinta (N.H.), Francisco “Quico” Canseco (Texas), Joe Heck (Nev.), Jeff Denham (Calif.), Bobby Schilling (Ill.), Robert Dold (Ill.), Michael Grimm (N.Y.), Jon Runyan (N.J.), Bill Johnson (Ohio), Jim Renacci (Ohio), Bob Gibbs (Ohio), Scott Rigell (Va.) and Judy Biggert (Ill).