More Troubles at the NRCC

It's rough going at the National Republican Congressional Committee these days. The Democrats are lining up serious House candidates -- state legislators, businessmen, former basketball coaches... you name it -- to challenge potentially vulnerable Republican seats all over the country. At the same time, Republicans are finding it difficult to recruit candidates in even their most highly targeted races (e.g. Georgia). What's more, as of the end of August the NRCC held a $22 million deficit in relation to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in terms of cash-on-hand (more on that later). So it should come as little surprise, then, that there is a move afoot to oust some of the leadership of the committee, a move that could lead to the resignation of the committee chairman. The Politico's John Bresnahan and Patrick O'Connor have the story.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is trying to force out the top two staffers of the National Republican Campaign Committee -- leading to a threat of resignation from the NRCC by Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) if it happens, said GOP insiders.

In a recent meeting in the Minority Leader's office, Boehner told Cole that he was displeased at how the NRCC is being run. Republican sources say Boehner wants to replace Pete Kirkham, the NRCC's executive director, and Terry Carmack, its political director, with more "aggressive" people with a more "realistic" view on next year's elections, sources said.

Boehner has not yet directly asked Cole to replace the two men, although his intention to do so is well known in House leadership circles. Cole has refused to consider the move and has privately declared "I will resign before I fire those two," said sources familiar with the dispute.

So what's this battle about? Are House Republicans actually unhappy with Cole for not running an "aggressive" enough campaign? Doesn't sound like it.

Inside-the-Beltway Republicans have grown frustrated with the NRCC for its unrealistically rosy assessments of an ever-eroding landscape for congressional Republicans.

Lawmakers are frustrated with Cole and his top aides for casting their net too wide by targeting Democratic-controlled seats that Republicans have little chance of picking up next year.

Some also gripe that Cole fails to manage expectations on the Hill when he refuses to acknowledge that the GOP's chances for regaining the majority fade with every retirement or negative news story about President Bush or scandal-plagued Republican lawmakers.

So not only are there such disagreements within the House Republican leadership that the chairman of the NRCC might not last out the entirety of his term, but the substance of the disagreement is that the chairman won't concede that his party basically has no chance of retaking the chamber. It's not a good time to be a House Republican.

Tags: House 2008, House Republicans, NRCC (all tags)

Comments

10 Comments

Re: More Troubles at the NRCC

This really goes to show how bad the Republicans have.  The outlook for them is horrible.  The DCCC has 22 million dollars banked, compared to last cycle, they had 7 million banked.  They are going to tear Republicans off the map.  I'm expecting a blowout.  

by JeremiahTheMessiah 2007-09-23 01:30PM | 0 recs
Re: More Troubles at the NRCC

Hillary is the wild card.  She has been the largest source of Republican fundraising for 7 years.  If she's our nominee, she'll be able to unite and excite the Republican factions like none of their candidates can.

They'll raise tens of millions just based on her being the Dem nominee.

by Vox Populi 2007-09-23 03:33PM | 0 recs
Re: More Troubles at the NRCC

I don't know about that.  I know some Republicans who are resigned to Hillary being President and not even fear of Hillary will get their rears in gear.    A lot of Republicans are pretty dispirited and as the polls for their candidates show, there's not a lot of enthusiasm there.  

by InigoMontoya 2007-09-23 04:19PM | 0 recs
Re: More Troubles at the NRCC

Damn... they're catching on.  I see another tidal wave of new Democratic freshmen coming our way in 2008.  Let's hope Boehner's comments are ignored...

by mbcarl 2007-09-23 04:00PM | 0 recs
Re: More Troubles at the NRCC

We should call NRCC leader Tom Cole and tell him to hold strong against Boehner... lol

by rosevilledem 2007-09-23 04:39PM | 0 recs
Re: More Troubles at the NRCC

It seems to me this is a broader reaction against an entire style of government driven by the White House and that was built on arrogance and denial of reality. I don't know anything about these two staffers but they sound like they spent some years pursuing degrees in The Math from Karl Rove U. The problem for Republicans is the only alternative to denying reality is accepting it, and that isn't a great option for them right now either. Not that I want to give them tips, but I am a little curious what people think the NRCC committee could do at this point? Obviously they need to hunker down and focus on defending their vulnerable seats -- beyond that it is hard to conceive of what kind of strategy they could pursue in order to actually make gains, given that the Republican brand is in the hands of this White House.

by thesleepthief 2007-09-23 05:42PM | 0 recs
Re: More Troubles at the NRCC

If they want to salvage this election, they need to completely re-brand themselves.  Throw Bush under the bus, end the disastrous warmongering, and re-focus on fiscal conservatism, immigration, and "family values" here at home.  They just don't seem to see the light yet.  There have been some chinks in the armor (i.e. Walsh, Wilson), but on-the-whole, they seem to be willing to go down with the ship, and I just don't really understand why.  Regardless, if they don't do a 180 from the path they are taking, the Dems will end up with the WH, a bigger majority in the House, and damn near the 60 vote obstruction-proof majority in the Senate.  At that point, there will be (out of necessity) a MAJOR change in direction in that party.

by NJIndependent 2007-09-23 07:18PM | 0 recs
Re: More Troubles at the NRCC
I think Boehner wants the NRCC to spend more money defending his race and the other GOP incumbents and not to waste money challenging incumbent democrats.
         During a normal election cycle incumbents ussally have a huge advantage it will take less money to defend what the GOP already has than it will to take out an incumbent democrat.
     Since this is expected to be an unussual election cycle favoring Democrats Boehner's idea makes even more sense.
      Still I hope Tom Cole stays in with the Happy Thoughts of taking back the Congress from the Democrats. If he could blow his wad of cash on challenges to incumbent Democrats early in the election he will drain the GOP incumbents of the cash they need.
     Which would result in our projections about how many seats the Democrats will take in the election as wrong, too cautious.
by mOropeza 2007-09-23 05:45PM | 0 recs
Question

The article talks about the campaign debt left over from last year's cycle for both committees.  When does that actually need to be paid off, or can they simply keep on delaying it to the next cycle?

by BruinKid 2007-09-24 03:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Question

Great artilce...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/24/opinio n/24krugman.html?_r=1&hp&oref=sl ogin

But, I think it is the Northern whites who are routing the GOP. The minorities are not still large enough to make the difference.

by Boilermaker 2007-09-24 01:02PM | 0 recs

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