NRCC adds 10 members to incumbent-protection program

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) added 10 members to its Patriot Program, designed to defend incumbent Republicans, the group announced Monday morning.

Many of the members hail from districts that have become more winnable for Democrats because of redistricting. The list: GOP Reps. Jeff Denham (Calif.), Robert Dold (Ill.), Judy Biggert (Ill.), Bobby Schilling (Ill.), Jon Runyan (N.J.), Michael Grimm (N.Y.), Bill Johnson (Ohio), Jim Renacci (Ohio), Bob Gibbs (Ohio) and Scott Rigell (Va.).

That the NRCC is including Johnson, Gibbs and Renacci indicates the three freshmen might not fall victim to redistricting. Ohio is losing two congressional seats because of its slow population growth. Republicans are in control of the process and will have to eliminate one of their own districts, and House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) office is drawing the maps. It is unlikely the NRCC would be protecting members whom Boehner expects to be targeted.

Biggert, Dold and Schilling have been drawn into tough districts by a Democratic gerrymander, and are the first from Illinois to be added to the program. Notably absent from the list are Illinois Republican freshman Reps. Randy Hultgren and Joe Walsh, who will likely square off in a GOP primary in a Republican district outside of Chicago in a seat the GOP is unlikely to lose.

Denham's district became more Democratic in a bipartisan redistricting plan. Grimm and Rigell are both freshman Republicans in marginal districts that are unlikely to change much in redistricting.