U.S. House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is going beyond what he, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan did with the “Young Guns” in the 2010 cycle.
That cycle yielded a sweeping change in the U.S. Congress of 63 seats with the recruitment of a new generation of conservative leaders called the “Young Guns”. They weren’t your standard politicians. They were small businesswomen, farmers, veterans, and even a lumberjack on a mission to reduce earmarks, balance the budget and limit deficit spending.
It was the most historic change in power for Republicans in Congress since 1938.
McCarthy’s still got the same mission, but this weekend his road show came home to California where redistricting has changed the playing field for California’s 53 congressional districts.
Among the featured guests in three key venues were several sitting Members of Congress including Brian Bilbray, Mary Bono-Mack, Jeff Denham, Darrell Issa, and Dan Lungren.
Challengers included California’s own brand of “young gun” challengers – Ricky Gill, Kim Vann, Tony Strickland and Abel Maldonado. Seven of the 33 national “Young Guns” team are from California.
McCarthy raised some $3.6 million for his Golden State Victory Fund – an account he controls that will benefit Californians running for Congress. His road show hit key donors in Atherton, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Three-point-six-million is a good chunk of change — but what was really fun was his reporters round table at the San Francisco Chronicle which featured Kim Vann, a pro-choice Republican woman; Abel Maldonado, the moderate Latino former Lt. Governor of California who was not endorsed by the state GOP, and Tony Strickland, the conservatives’ favorite guy.
McCarthy’s recipe for success has been recruiting candidates just like these three all over the country – good fits in open and swing districts. He doesn’t get caught up in party purity – just winning.
The Democrat effort, headed by former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, would likely need to pick up five U.S. House seats in California and twenty other seats in other states to take back the U.S. House.
If you’re ready to bet – my money’s on McCarthy.