Campaign 2010

Jun 02, 2010

Another Round of ‘Young Gun’ Misfires

On the heels of the embarrassing loss by NRCC-backed “Young Gun” candidate Vaughn Ward last week and the defeat of NRCC favorites and recruits like Tim Burns (PA-12), Jeff Reetz (KY-03) and Mary Beth Buchanan (PA-04), additional NRCC-backed candidates suffered setbacks in last night’s primaries. For months, House Republicans have been busy touting their recruits and boasting their outrageous claims that they will win a hundred seats.


Last night, NRCC-backed candidate Martha Roby (AL-02) failed to win her nomination and Congressman Parker Griffith (AL-05) was defeated, both against candidates identified with the tea party movement.


Martha Roby (AL-02)

Despite being one of the first candidates named to the NRCC “Young Guns” program, Roby was unable to win her nomination in Alabama’s 2nd district even after outraising her closest rival by a 6-1 margin.  Barber, a local tea party activist who hired staff from Doug Hoffman’s race in NY-23, was backed by a founder of the National Tea Party and by leading conservative blog RedState, among others.  

  • Roll Call reported, “If Roby doesn't win the nomination outright tonight, it will be viewed as an embarrassment to her national party backers, who are still recovering from the loss of one their top recruits in Idaho's primary last week.”
  • The National Journal recently wrote “Roby should win comfortably, and a closer-than-expected primary will be a sign that her camp is not yet ready for primetime, and may never be.”
  • Roby is the second candidate who reached “Young Gun” status, the highest tier of the “Young Gun” program at the NRCC, and then failed to win an election this cycle, after Vaughn Ward.


Parker Griffith (AL-05)

Almost every national Republican, led by the NRCC, warmly embraced Congressman Parker Griffith and backed his nomination when he switched parties but almost all local Republicans bucked the national effort. Local Republican committees voted to endorse anyone but Griffith and local Republican activists tried to remove him from the ballot. The entire Alabama Republican congressional delegation endorsed Griffith, House Republican Leader John Boehner traveled to the district and House Republican Whip Eric Cantor recently said that winning this race was a personal “priority” for him. But Boehner’s support was met by a torrent of protests against establishment involvement and, in the words of the Huntsville Tea Party head, they “are sending a message to the national Republican establishment: stay out of our primary.”



To learn more about previous NRCC defeats, see What Good is the NRCC’s Help These Days?




Martha Roby: [The Hotline, 5/28/10;; The Hill, 2/26/10; Rick Barber for Congress, accessed 6/1/10; Roll Call, 6/1/10]


Parker Griffith: [FOX News, 6/1/10; POLITICO, 5/27/10; Huntsville Times, 3/8/10; Associated Press, 4/03/10]