CRP Blog

Saturday, March 15, 2008

National Journal Magazine Focuses on McCarthy's Role

National Journal magazine is arguably the definitive weekly publication covering the federal government, including Congress. Last week, the magazine covered the role of several freshman Republican House members in working to rebuild a Republican majority in the Chamber.

Here's what they had to say about our own Kevin McCarthy:

Since 1913, when the House of Representatives expanded to 435 members, no Republican freshman class has been smaller than the one that began to serve after the 2006 election. Just 13 new House GOP members were sworn into office in January 2007, fewer even than were elected after the Watergate scandal decimated Republican ranks in 1974. But those GOP newcomers who survived the 2006 Democratic wave have bonded better than most freshman classes, and several are already playing a role in trying to help their party win back the majority.


McCarthy, Chief Deputy Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., are taking the lead in trying to build a larger freshman GOP class next year through a new program called the "Young Guns Team." The initiative, which held a kickoff dinner on February 7, will encourage this Congress's freshmen to mentor a Republican candidate or two heading into the 2008 election. McCarthy said that the effort will target 16 candidates initially.

The goals, McCarthy and others involved in the program said, are to recruit the right kind of candidate, one who can persevere, as this group of freshmen has, despite inhospitable political conditions; and to provide first-time office-seekers with a base of support. "We want to attract fighters," said Jordan, who is also involved in the Young Guns. "Who's the guy or the lady out there who's going to come in here and bring the energy, bring the intensity?"

McCarthy thinks that the political climate will be more favorable this year for anyone challenging a sitting member in November, particularly as the economy worsens. "When you're running, you're running against what's happening in Washington, D.C., today, with both parties," he said. "When the economy gets tighter, people get more frustrated. When you're frustrated, you want to fire somebody."

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