The Campaign Spot

So What Do You Want National Party Committees To Do?

I’m as irked as any about the National Republican Senatorial Committee endorsing too early in races this cycle — their first endorsee in Pennsylvania flipped parties, and their endorsee in Florida held a rally for Obama’s stimulus — but I think the Union Leader in Manchester, New Hampshire is complaining a bit much.

Last week the National Republican Senatorial Committee sent out invitations to a fundraiser for “candidate for United States Senate” Kelly Ayotte. As James Pindell of, who first wrote about the invitation, noted, Ayotte isn’t even an official candidate yet. She’s still “exploring” a Senate run.

The top featured guest is none other than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The message is clear: The GOP leadership in Washington supports Ayotte for Senate. Anyone else considering a run should forget it.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has talked up Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta since before Guinta announced he was running. It has heavily promoted him and last week listed him among among several candidates included in its “Young Guns” program. That program, according to The Hill newspaper, which covers Congress, “aims to help non-incumbents win in top races around the country.”

If you want to recruit a candidate, you’re probably going to have to demonstrate an effective ability to tout him. The objection in the House race seems particularly misplaced, since there are no other candidates in the race yet. Yes, there could be, but the NRCC has examined each district and looked for the Republican best-positioned to win, not just ideologically but in terms of geography, popularity, name recognition, resume, unique characteristics, etc. They’ve found their guy, and now they want to ensure he’s in the strongest position possible. If Republicans want an active party committee, this is what active party committees do.

The alternative is to have the national party committees stand on the sideline until after the primary, conceding their resources, abilities and staff until much, much later in the cycle…


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