Congressional Republicans are launching their 2014 “Patriot Program” Monday, aimed at helping some of their incumbent and more endangered members get an early jump on next year's campaign to remain in office.
The program, run by the National Republican Congressional Committee, is designed to counter the early efforts of President Barack Obama and Democrats by targeting some of the toughest races in the 2014 election cycle, according to Politico.
“We know that Barack Obama’s most important goal is to get Nancy Pelosi elected speaker of the House,” said Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner, who is helping to oversee the Patriot effort. “This is an offensive program that will expand the playing field by helping keep members who are critical to our majority.”
The Patriot Program was started in 2010 to provide additional campaign assistance to members facing difficult re-election races. For this election cycle, 11 GOP lawmakers are being named to the program, Politico reported. They are: Reps. Mike Coffman of Colorado; Rodney Davis of Illinois; Jeff Denham and David Valadao of California; Mike Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania; Bob Gibbs and David Joyce of Ohio; Chris Gibson of New York; Joe Heck of Nevada; Steve Southerland of Florida; and Jackie Walorski of Indiana.
The eleven are facing an uphill battle for re-election, Politico noted. Three are in districts that lean Democratic; five are in districts Obama won last November, and the remaining three had victory margins of 2 percentage points or less in 2012. The Cook Political Report has also labeled their districts as the GOP's most vulnerable.
Those who are selected to participate in the program have to sign contracts committing to a number of benchmarks to track their fundraising and campaign data collection efforts. In return, the NRCC program provides additional fundraising help and consultants to advise on their campaign strategies.
The NRCC plans to hold its first Patriot Program fundraiser in May.
Democrats, meanwhile, have already begun targeting each of this year's Patriot candidates.
“National Republicans have just admitted these are the first ones they’ll lose when voters reject this out-of-touch Republican Congress,” said Jesse Ferguson, deputy executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
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