Filling Out Our Recruiting Class (Rep. Tom Cole)

As Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), one of my goals is to improve communications between the committee and its members. As a part of that improved communications process, I intend to present to our conference a Quarterly Report. The report will be an overview of the past quarter and provide an assessment of where we stand on critical campaign fronts.

One of the untold success stories of this year has been our candidate recruitment efforts. Our Candidate Recruitment Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), has done an excellent job. The subcommittee has held multiple meetings, contacted prospective candidates throughout our nation, engaged delegations to assist with recruitment efforts in their states and continues to make significant progress in our efforts to recruit the best candidates in our key districts.

Connecticut’s 2nd District - Former Groton sub base commander Sean P. Sullivan has filed to take Rob Simmons’ seat back from Rep. Joe Courtney (D).

Connecticut’s 5th District- State Senator David Cappiello, who serves as the Senate Deputy Minority Leader and as the Ranking Republican Senator on the Appropriations Committee, has filed to run against Rep. Chris Murphy (D) in the seat long held by Nancy Johnson.

Florida’s 16th District - We have three excellent candidates who have already filed. Attorney Tom Rooney, State Rep. Gayle Harrell and Palm Beach Gardens City Councilman Hal Valeche each filed with more than $100,000 cash on hand for the first quarter.

Florida’s 22nd District - Marcus Flagg, a former fighter pilot who lost his parents on September 11th, 2001, is running to unseat Rep. Ron Klein (D). Mr. Flagg has been an ardent advocate for transportation security, serves as a member of Move America Forward, an organization that represents families affected by September 11th in thanking and supporting our soldiers, and serves as a board member on Paths of Patriots, which is dedicated to providing rehabilitation services and job training for severely wounded and amputee service members from Iraq and Afghanistan, their wives, widows and orphans.

Georgia’s 10th District - Sadly, the passing of our good friend and colleague, Charlie Norwood, necessitates a Special Election on June 19th. Currently, three Republican candidates have filed in this Republican stronghold with the filing deadline ending on April 26th. State Senator Jim Whitehead raised more than $240,000 for the first quarter. Founder of RightMarch.com, Bill Greene, and physician Paul Broun are also competing.

Kansas’ 2nd District - Former Congressman Jim Ryun and State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins are competing in the primary to take on Rep. Nancy Boyda (D). Jim recently filed with over $250,000 cash on hand for the first quarter and Ms. Jenkins filed to run in April.

Minnesota’s 1st District - State Senator Dick Day, State Representative Randy Demmer and Lake Crystal School Board member Mark Meyer are already running against Rep. Tim Walz (D) for the seat formerly held by Gil Gutnecht.

New Hampshire’s 1st District - Former Congressman Jeb Bradley is running to unseat Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D). I am extremely pleased that Jeb will be returning to our conference in the next Congress.

New York’s 19th District - Once held by Rep. Sue Kelly, Andrew Saul, Chairman of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board and Vice Chairman of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Iraq veteran Kieran Michael Lalor are both running.

New York’s 20th District - Former Secretary of State and former State Republican Party Chairman, Sandy Treadwell, and Michael Bloomberg aide Richard Wager are both running in this seat once held by Rep. John Sweeney.

Washington’s 2nd District - 2006 candidate, 27-year Navy veteran and former Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. John C. Stennis, Doug Roulstone, is running against Rep. Rick Larsen (D).

We are excited about the candidates who have filed so far and have additional candidates who will be filing in the coming months. The NRCC will continue to be aggressive with ongoing recruitment efforts in key districts throughout the country, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Arizona, Oregon, Kentucky, Georgia, Iowa, California, Illinois, Maine, North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin.

On May 7th and May 8th, we will be hosting our first National Republican Congressional Committee Candidate’s School for more than twenty-five of our candidates in target districts throughout the nation. As a part of the School, these candidates and potential candidates will be attending our Republican Conference on May 8th.

While we recognize we have a lot of hard work in front of us, the successes of this quarter show that we can and will be successful in 2008.

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