We tend to think the party congressional committees' job is pretty much just to raise money for their candidates, especially now that the Hill is awash in so much more donated dough than it used to be. But just as crucial is the committees' ability to wield influence behind the scenes and get the right candidates recruited and nominated in the primaries. It's a function I've repeatedly heard the National Republican Congressional Committee is really abdicating this year, meaning hard-right activists or interest groups have an easier time lifting their favorite wingnuttish sons to victory in the GOP primaries, only to diminish the party's chances in general matchups. Here's today's Wall Street Journal, on the Republican primary victor in the race for Louisiana's 6th district House seat:
Among [GOP nominee Jenkins's] political liabilities, however, is a connection to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, from whom he purchased a phone list during his 1996 Senate run. He was fined $3,000 in 2002 by the Federal Election Commission for illegally concealing the purchase. Democrats see the Duke issues as factors in their favor, according to a party memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
... [T]here is little enthusiasm for Mr. Jenkins among congressional Republicans, who view him as a second-tier candidate in what should be an easy victory for the party. The National Republican Congressional Committee, House Republicans' campaign arm, is weighing what resources to invest in the race.
Memo to NRCC: The time to invest resources in the race was yesterday.