Even though Ben Lange won the Republican primary in the 1st Congressional District with relative ease in 2010, getting people to actually believe he could mount a general election campaign to unseat Congressman Bruce Braley was incredibly difficult.
To Lange’s credit, following his 2010 primary victory, he met the fundraising goals set from him by the NRCC and he gained “On the Radar” status. Lange would ultimately be named a “Young Gun,” but it wasn’t until mid-October, just weeks before November election.
The “Young Gun” status is the highest tier of the NRCC’s candidate recruitment and support program. In the 2010 general election, 62 of 90 candidates that earned the Young Gun status won election and helped Republicans win a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Lange achieved “On the Radar” status this April, and later today the NRCC will announce that he has achieved the contender status. That means that if Lange wins the June 5th primary against Dubuque businessman Rod Blum, he should be able to reach “Young Gun” status yet this summer, which would allow him to significantly cut into Braley’s money advantage.
There has been some confusion in the 1st District Primary as to whether or not Blum has obtained “On the Radar” status with the NRCC. At a Dubuque Tea Party meeting held on March 1, Blum was asked if he expected to receive money from the NRCC should he win the primary. The questioner also noted that Lange did not receive financial assistance for the NRCC that year.
Blum said, “Yes. You’re correct. I don’t think he [LANGE] did. And yes I would expect money from them [NRCC]. They have a program, it’s called Young Guns. You have to raise so much money to get into it, and then once you’ve raised that much money, you’re on the radar screen. He’s in it this time, and I’m in it this time because we’ve both raised enough money to get past the threshold.”
Despite Blum saying that he’s obtained “On the Radar” status, the NRCC’s Young Guns website doesn’t say that Blum has been included in the program. In Iowa, only Lange, and the two candidates in the 2nd Congressional District are listed.
Even if Blum wins the primary, expecting money from the NRCC might be farfetched considering that Blum recently bashed the Speaker of the House at a candidate forum in Poweshiek County and has also said he doesn’t trust national Republicans. That sort of language might get you a few votes, but probably won’t get you much assistance from those that he has publicly said he doesn’t like, doesn’t trust, and would not be interested in working with.
Lange has done an outstanding job of getting himself in a great position should he be successful in the primary. Two years ago, everyone involved in the campaign had to stop what they were doing and focus on raising $100,000 in a three-week span following the primary. They met the goal, but ultimately ran out of time and financial resources at the end of the campaign.
This time around, Lange is still running a very disciplined campaign, but he is ahead of schedule in regards to getting the support he needs from the NRCC. Throughout the primary, Lange has made the case that he is best prepared to take on Braley. With the news that he is already reached “Contender” status, the NRCC seems to have validated that claim.
NRCC Elevates Ben Lange in Young Guns Program
Only Candidate to Meet Rigorous Organizational Goals in IA-01
INDEPENDENCE, IA – The National Republican Congressional Committee today elevated U.S. congressional candidate Ben Lange for the second time this year as part of the NRCC Young Guns program due to his campaign’s ability to meet rigorous organizational benchmarks.
The Young Guns program is an avenue through which a Republican congressional candidate may receive additional national assistance in defeating the divisive and extreme agenda of Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) in Iowa’s 1st district and other districts across the country.
“We are looking forward to working with Ben Lange, who has already proven himself by meeting rigorous benchmarks in the ‘Young Guns’ program that will position his campaign for victory,” said NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX). “Ben Lange’s dedication and experience enables him to advocate effectively for pro-growth policies and fight the failed status quo in Washington. This will stand in stark contrast to the Obama-Pelosi record of spending, borrowing and taxing that Iowa families and small businesses know has failed.”
Lange recently raised 11 times the amount of resources as his closest competitor in IA-01 and is the only candidate to have united a broad base of support across the 1st district. Lange has earned the support of key Tea Party activists, College Republican leaders, state senators and representatives, former congressional nominee and current State Senator Brad Zaun, among many others.
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