November 13, 2006
Dear Republican Colleague:
Last Tuesday, our party lost races – many by razor-thin margins – all across the country ending our 12-year control of the House. As a Conference, we lost many outstanding Members and friends, who were swept away in a wave of voter discontent and dissatisfaction with Congress.
I am running for Chairman of the NRCC to reinvigorate the Committee, redefine its operations, and regain our majority in the next election cycle.
My campaign experience is as broad as anyone in our Conference: nine tough races in either primaries or general elections. I’ve been the Republican nominee in a targeted race three times. I’ve run as a challenger, in an open seat, as a targeted incumbent, and in a member-member race. I’ve run in a district that was half rural, in a district that is half urban and diverse and in a purely suburban district.
If chosen by the Conference to serve as the next NRCC Chairman, my focus will be to retain what has proven to work, while making the improvements required to compete as a first-class political organization.
I have identified three main areas that can be improved to enable the NRCC to do its part to regain our majority – and going forward, I will rely on feedback from you to identify other ways to make the NRCC more successful and responsive to Member needs.
· Making the NRCC a Center of Excellence for the Full Range of Tactics: The public’s media consumption habits have changed radically in the last 10 years but few congressional campaigns have followed that change. Most campaigns (and the NRCC’s IE effort) devote message resources almost exclusively to network spot buys, even as the private sector norm now is to devote significant resources to all media – broadcast TV, cable, radio, micro-level targeted mail and internet marketing. Our campaigns must follow these private sector examples and deliver our message to voters in the medium that they want it delivered, not in the medium that we prefer to deliver it to them. As someone with extensive business and campaign experience, I will lead an overhaul of the 1990s campaign model still dominant in congressional campaigns, borrowing from both more sophisticated statewide campaigns and the best private sector marketers.
· Overcoming the Strategic Minority Party Fundraising Disadvantage: With a base in one of the largest Republican donor markets in the country, I have built my leadership PAC (PETE PAC) into one of the top ten leadership PACs in the House. The strategic advantage of leveraging the individual donor pool helped me to provide:
o Direct contributions of over $830,000 to colleagues and challengers facing tough campaigns.
o Fundraising and events that produced an additional $1,824,000 directly for targeted campaigns.
o $710,000 to the NRCC in the 2006 cycle, with half of that total raised from Dallas-Fort Worth sources.
· Recruiting Talented Candidates to Beat Incumbent Democrats: With average budget levels of over $3 million in highly-contested Congressional races, voters are better able to judge true candidate quality than ever before. Increased campaign spending and the 24-hour news cycle have conspired to disprove the notion that great fundraising is a viable substitute for bad candidates. The Democrat margin that we see today began with outstanding candidate recruitment. We need to revitalize this basic aspect of political organization at the NRCC and expand the playing field to put Democrat incumbents on the defensive in more races in 2008, particularly in districts with newly-elected “wave” Democrats and in “red” districts that support Republicans in other races but have long elected a Democratic Member.
Finally, as a Member of Congress I know that the largest donor base at the NRCC is the Membership of our Republican Conference. As Chairman of the NRCC, I will recognize that the NRCC exists for the benefit of Members – not for consultants or staff – and will ensure that Member input be treated with the deference it deserves. I pledge to you that the NRCC will be responsive and primarily focused on providing Members with the tools they need to be successful.
I appreciate your consideration of my candidacy to chair the NRCC and return the House majority to the Republican Party. I look forward to working tirelessly with you to ensure that the NRCC operates as the efficient, cutting-edge, and results-oriented organization that it must be to win back the majority next election. If Republicans want to be a majority party, we need to speak to a majority of the people. That begins with being the most effective political organization that we can be – and we can accomplish this by working together and staying a step ahead of our competition to reclaim the House.
Tom Cole and Phil English are also running for the slot.