On a conference call with reporters just now, National Republican Congressional Committee Executive Director Guy Harrison touted the strength and extent of the party’s big House victories last night — and predicted that the GOP would have staying power in many of the conservative districts they picked up.
“When you really look at this at the start, this is exactly what we said the opportunity was. We had 48 races where McCain won, and a Democrat was sitting in that seat,” said Harrison. “We have only 10 that survived that, and those will be the first on our pecking order next cycle.”
During the Q&A, I asked Harrison about what steps the party would do to protect some of their more surprising, upset victories — every major wave election has some lucky upset wins, which then snap back to the former party soon enough.
“I think the first thing is we’re now heading into a redistricting cycle, which kind of throws everything in the air,” said Harrison, counting 19 states that now have Republicans controlling both the legislatures and governorships. As he pointed out, the redistricting process could alter the dynamics in many of these seats.
He also touted the NRCC’s “Young Guns” program, for measuring the progress of candidates, which will continue for these freshman in the form of the “Patriot Program.”
“I think you can count on one hand the number of that 60 group that was in the unknown category to the national media,” said Harrison. “So I think we have a great opportunity, men and women that we’ve been working with for some time, and know how to put in a holistic campaign.”
He also added, of those pickups in McCain districts: “A lot of these members are going to be going into seats that Republicans should have owned a long time ago. So I predict you’ll have a lot of these members not have adequate opposition, a) because of how strong they are, and b) because of how strong their districts are.”