Is Something Troubling Harry Teague?

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Could NM become purple once again?  Things are really looking good for Steve Pearce.  As stories about his fundraising prowess continue to circulate, one might get the impression that Harry Teague could be a little nervous.  Then, the following headline surfaced:  “Teague says he’s focused on representing, not campaigning

In an interview with the NM Independent, Teague was quoted as saying:

“…“I’ve been working on being a congressman, not campaigning,” Teague said in an interview at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe….But the first thing we’re going to do is represent the people,” Teague said….”

Add do this a piece in the Politico:

“…Here are eight House Democrats whose reelection battles could be influenced by the cap-and-trade fight. While some Republicans could be affected, too — California Rep. Mary Bono Mack is getting attacked over cap and trade by a primary challenger from her right — we’ll stick to Democrats, given the national environment.

New Mexico Rep. Harry Teague: Teague, despite being an oilman, is the most vulnerable on this list. A freshman, he represents Little Texas, which shares an oil-and-gas orientation with the Lone Star State. Teague will face his GOP predecessor — fellow oilman Steve Pearce — without the 2008 Democratic tailwind…”

FIRST DISTRICT NEWS

“…NRCC ANNOUNCES JON BARELA ADVANCES TO ‘CONTENDER’ STATUS

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The National Republican Congressional Committee announced today that Jon Barela, Republican candidate for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, will advance to ‘Contender’ status in their Young Guns program.  The Young Guns program is a three-step program dedicated to electing open-seat and challenger candidates nationwide.

“Our campaign is honored and excited to join the ‘Contender’ ranks in the NRCC Young Guns program,” remarked Barela.  “I’m proud of the work being done by our staff and volunteers, as we offer New Mexicans a clear alternative to the high-tax, high-spend status quo being offered by Martin Heinrich and Nancy Pelosi in Washington.”

“Jon Barela has already proven that he will be a formidable candidate by meeting the Young Guns program’s rigorous goals and is well on his way to building a winning campaign that will put this seat back in the Republican column,” said NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions. “Jon is part of a strong and growing pool of candidates who are frustrated with the Democrat majority’s big-government ways and aren’t willing to stand by any longer. His campaign has put Martin Heinrich on notice that Americans are ready to turn the page on the failed experiment known as the Obama-Pelosi agenda.”

Barela, a small business owner in Albuquerque, is one of just fifteen other congressional candidates nationwide to achieve ‘Contender’ status today….”

FROM THE NRCC

This week is set to be a busy one for the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” campaign program. In a sign that the NRCC intends to continue to expand the Republican playing field in 2010, party officials are set to name 14 new challenger and open-seat candidates who have reached the first rung of the committee’s three-tiered fundraising and infrastructure system.

Also, NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) is set to announce the first group of candidates who have completed the necessary requirements to reach the program’s highest level and have earned the distinction of being called the GOP’s top House recruits of the 2010 cycle.

The Young Guns system ranks candidates in three levels: “On the Radar,” “Contender” and, finally, “Young Guns.” Candidates are named to the program by meeting individualized benchmarks set by the committee, which include developing grass-roots support, fundraising and creating a media plan. Those benchmarks become higher and more stringent with each level of the program.

Among the 14 GOP candidates who will be named to On the Radar status this week are South Dakota state Rep. Blake Curd, who is running against Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D); Oregon state Rep. Scott Bruun (R), who is challenging freshman Rep. Kurt Schrader (D); former West Virginia state Rep. David McKinley, who is taking on Rep. Alan Mollohan (D); former Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R), who is in a rematch with two-term Rep. Patrick Murphy (D); and Indiana state Rep. Jackie Walorski, who is challenging Rep. Joe Donnelly (D).

As those candidates move to On the Radar status, 11 current On the Radar candidates will be moving to the Contender tier this week. Those GOP recruits include auto dealer Scott Rigell in Virginia’s 2nd district, businessman Jon Barela in New Mexico’s 1st district, businessman Bob Dold in Illinois’ 10th district and Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier in Colorado’s 7th district.

Not all of the candidates that the NRCC is promoting have clear shots at their party’s nomination — some in fact are in reasonably competitive primaries.

Meanwhile, Republican insiders are keeping a tight lid on which and how many recruits will be named to Young Guns status by Sessions this week, but a few seem obvious.

Not counting the additions that will be made this week, the committee currently has 15 candidates who have achieved Contender status, and within that group a few recruits had standout fundraising quarters, according to recently filed Federal Election Commission reports.

Maryland state Sen. Andy Harris (R), who is in a rematch with freshman Rep. Frank Kratovil (D) in the Eastern Shore-based 1st district, out-raised the Congressman by more than $30,000 during the last three months of 2009.

In New Mexico’s 2nd district, former Rep. Steve Pearce (R) out-raised his successor, freshman Rep. Harry Teague (D), by more than $60,000 during the fourth quarter.

And in Florida’s 22nd district, veteran Allen West (R) out-raised sophomore Rep. Ron Klein (D) by more than $330,000.

The Young Guns program was originally created by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) and Reps. Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Paul Ryan (Wis.) during the 2008 cycle. Last year, Sessions adopted it as one of the NRCC’s marquee candidate-development tools. “

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