McCarthy on recruiting swing in OR

House Republican recruiting chief Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) is off on his first recruiting trip of the cycle, meeting with potential opponents for a pair of Democrats in Oregon.

Republicans are high on Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken (R) in Rep. Peter DeFazio's (D-Ore.) district, and McCarthy is interviewing several state lawmakers in freshman Rep. Kurt Schrader's (D) district.

McCarthy is a potential future leader of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and has an important job as its new recruiting chairman. Republicans are attempting to reclaim dozens of districts lost in recent cycles, along with pursuing new districts, like DeFazio's.

The recruiting trip is part of a heavy push to lure Leiken into the 4th district race, a race that would become very attractive if DeFazio runs for governor. Republicans had a disappointing showing in Schrader's district last cycle, failing to capture the swing district after the Democratic incumbent retired.

"I think the best way for Republicans to get the right candidates engaged is to not just call somebody up and talk to them," McCarthy said. "And it's not just recruiting for two years; I'm recruiting for eight years. You've got to go into the district and find the best person there and build a base."

McCarthy is set to meet with donors Friday morning before taking a tour of Springfield with Leiken.

After that, McCarthy has a series of meetings with state legislators. Among those being mentioned as possible Schrader opponents are state Sen. Brian Boquist and state Reps. Scott Bruun, Kevin Cameron, Vic Gilliam, Bill Kennemer and Kim Thatcher.

- Aaron Blake