- Bill Clinton to endorse Charlie Rangel for re-election
- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
- L.A. sheriff admits to testing flyover spy program without notifying residents
- Foreign minister vows response if Russians are attacked in Ukraine
- Robert Griffin III to drive pace car before Richmond NASCAR race
- Material on Australian shore examined in jet hunt
- Bomb, shooting in Egypt kills 2 police officers
- Tenn. woman receives two-year sentence for stealing $364K meant for homeless veterans
Recruits for 2010 put glee in GOP
Conservative and Republican candidates who sat on the sidelines during the Democratic electoral surges of 2006 and 2008 are jumping into the 2010 midterm elections with renewed confidence after President Obama’s first year in office.
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, who heads the recruitment effort at the National Republican Congressional Committee, said he doesn’t have to go looking for candidates anymore. He just has to answer the phone.
“We’ve got people calling from all over the country, saying, ‘I want to run.’ People are concerned about the direction of the country,” he said. “We’ve got doctors, farmers, business people — people from all walks of life.”
The class of new recruits, who run the gamut from legislative veterans hoping for comebacks to promising newcomers, has Republican officials eyeing significant gains in the House, Senate and governors’ mansions after two disastrous election cycles.
In Tennessee’s conservative-leaning 8th Congressional District, for example, farmer and gospel singer Stephen Fincher climbed down from his tractor last year to run against 11-term Rep. John S. Tanner, a Democrat who abruptly announced his retirement plans in early December.
The race is now considered wide open.
“My roots run deep in Tennessee, not politics,” said Mr. Fincher, who raised an impressive $300,000 in the third quarter campaigning against the agenda of President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.
Democratic officials say the Republican talk of recruiting prowess is false bravado to mask the party’s persistent problems rebuilding credibility after what they describe as the excesses of President George W. Bush’s tenure. Republicans, they say, have not raised enough funds for campaigns to recapture Congress and are competing with the conservative “tea party” movement that doesn’t necessarily back the party’s candidates.
“It’s more quantity over quality,” said Democratic political consultant Brian Smoot. “There still doesn’t seem to be enthusiasm for the Republican brand.”
Still, Mr. Westmoreland, who said he once hoped for a 25-seat House gain, now says flipping as many as 45 seats isn’t out of the question.
With Democrats holding a 256-178 edge in the House with one current vacancy, Republicans would need a net gain of 40 seats to retake control of the chamber. In the Senate, Democrats hold a 58-40 edge, with two independents who caucus with the majority.
Senate Republicans are just as confident, boasting viable candidates in the eight tossup races identified by the Rothenberg Political Report, including in Mr. Obama’s home state of Illinois and in Nevada, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid faces a tough re-election fight.
In Illinois, Rep. Mark Steven. Kirk, considered the Republican Party’s best hope, is expected to get the nomination for the Senate seat while Democrats try to choose a candidate to hold the seat of Sen. Roland W. Burris, a Democrat who is retiring. Nevada Republicans are still facing a primary fight, but both of its top hopefuls already beat Mr. Reid in hypothetical polling matchups.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said he expects the party to win a majority of the 37 governorships on the ballot in November.
About the Author
Steven A Miller
- Massachusetts 'tossup' threatens Obama agenda
- Weiner blasts health care 'negotiation'
- Democrats chart dim midterm course
- McCain slams court decision
- Kaine: GOP 'civil war' ace in hole
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Feds who send arms against ranch families betray American values
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- Georgia governor signs bill expanding gun rights
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Professor apologizes after blasting Republicans in class
- Justice Dept.'s new clemency guidelines: Crack offenders most obvious candidates
- Ukraine claims torture by pro-Russian forces on the heels of Biden's stern warning to Moscow
- Ministry of Truth: SCOTUS skeptical of law to police campaign 'lies'
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014