NRCC More Than Doubles List Of Members Needing Defense

Clearly, the GOP is concerned about more than a couple of their incumbents for 2010 (Roll Call-$):

The National Republican Congressional Committee on Thursday will name 15 more Members to its “Patriot” program to boost the party’s most vulnerable incumbents in 2010, bringing its membership to 25.

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According to a list obtained by Roll Call, the 15 new Members named to the program are: Mike Rogers (Ala.), Mary Bono Mack (Calif.), Bill Posey (Fla.), Tom Rooney (Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Lynn Jenkins (Kan.), John Fleming (La.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (Mo.), Lee Terry (Neb.), Scott Garrett (N.J.), Dean Heller (Nev.), Charlie Dent (Pa.) and Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.).

The program, which is a carbon copy of the DCCC’s already established “Frontline” program, already released their inaugural list of ten incumbents earlier in the year. That list had some useful tip-offs–the exclusion of Jim Gerlach (PA-06) foretold his decision to run for Governor, for example. It is worth noting that Mike Castle (DE-AL) and Bill Young (FL-10) are still not on the Patriot list, possibly hinting at their retirements.

There are two takeaways from this list. First of all, the GOP is taking some of the challengers already recruited by the Democrats very, very seriously. The inclusion of Lee Terry, Charlie Dent, and Mary Bono Mack shows that the Republicans are clearly worried about folks like Tom White in Nebraska, John Callahan in Pennsylvania, and Steve Pougnet in California.

The second takeaway is that either the NRCC is trying to artificially inflate their “batting average” with vulnerable incumbents, or they are planning on wasting some money. It is difficult to find anyone who thinks that Scott Garrett (NJ) or Cynthia Lummis (WY) are in any grave danger. Indeed, the most recent “Competitive House Race” chart from the Cook Political Report lists 44 potentially competitive Republican seats. Neither Garrett or Lummis make the cut.

One thing is also evident: the ceaseless (and successful) recruiting efforts by the Democrats, and the defensive posture of the GOP, shows that both sides are aware that Democrats may not be finished in padding their already sizeable House majority.


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