Tags: rookies | House | GOP | election

House GOP Freshmen Proving Themselves

Thursday, 24 May 2012 01:09 PM

By Dan Weil

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Last year the talk among political pundits was that many House GOP freshmen would be one-hit wonders, not even making it through their primaries. The pundits couldn’t have been more wrong.

Of the 87 rookies, 29 have faced primaries so far, and all have emerged victorious, Politico reports. Many of those races were blowouts, and some incumbents didn’t even face a primary opponent.

The pundits thought the freshmen, many of them tea partyers, would be challenged for straying from their conservative roots. In Tennessee, a state senator publicly mulled a race against Rep. Scott DesJarlais. In Pennsylvania, a top official of the tea party group Americans for Prosperity contemplated a run against Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, whom he criticized over a labor bill. In Indiana, a tea partyer was thinking of a bid against Rep. Larry Bucshon after his vote to lift the debt limit.

All three incumbents advanced easily. In the end, the state senator declined to run against DesJarlais, no one ran against Fitzpatrick, and Bucshon scored an easy victory.

One of the most significant tesst is likely in Arizona where freshman Rep. Paul Gosar faces a strong challenge from state Sen. Ron Gould in a redrawn district. The Club for Growth has thrown its support behind Gould.

Then there is November, when many of the the rookies will face fierce challenges from Democratic opponents. But many will come in with strength from their conservative base, thanks largely to their strong stand on spending cuts, which forced GOP congressional leaders to the right.

“They did what they said they would do,” House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy told Politico. “I’ve always felt that as long as the freshmen did what they said they would do, they would be fine.”

McCarthy, one of the party’s shrewdest strategists, has forecast that every Republican freshman facing a challenger will take the nomination.



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