Charles Djou Advances to ‘On the Radar’
Hawaii Candidate Takes First Step toward ‘Young Gun’ Status
Washington - The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has officially announced Charles Djou (HI-01) as an ‘On the Radar’ candidate, the first step of its Young Guns program. Founded in the 2007-2008 election cycle by Reps. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Paul Ryan (R-WI), the Young guns program is a member-driven organization dedicated to electing open-seat and challenger candidates nationwide.
The Young Guns program is designed to assist Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives to achieve goals and benchmarks throughout the election cycle focused on the fundamentals of a winning campaign. By achieving ‘On the Radar’ status, Djou has already proven his ability to build a successful campaign structure and achieve important fundraising goals.
“The NRCC is committed to working with Charles Djou as he continues to meet the rigorous goals of the Young Guns program,” said NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions. “With all that Charles Djou has accomplished in just a few short months, I am confident that he will be successful in his effort to regain a seat for Republicans and keep the Democrats accountable for their reckless anti-jobs agenda.”
Charles Djou has proven leadership abilities during his service in the Hawaii State House, the Honolulu City Council, and as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. The three biggest industries in the district are tourism, defense and construction and Djou has experience in all three – serves Waikiki (tourism center) in the City Council, serves in the U.S. Army Reserves and was General Counsel at a Hawaii construction company. He looks forward to continuing to advocate fiscal responsibility and ethics reform when he gets to Washington, as he has never voted for a tax increase and led the fight against corruption in Hawaii.
While already achieving certain benchmarks to place him on the road to victory, Charles Djou now faces a new set of rigorous benchmarks that will help him advance to the next level of the Young Guns program and help him build a competitive, effective and winning campaign.
NRCC picks top challengers as Young Guns
Aaron Blake The Hill July 29, 2009
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) on Wednesday unveiled the first 13 candidates in its new Young Guns program, which aims to help non-incumbents win in top races around the country.
The new list includes two former members of Congress — ex-Reps. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) — as well as top challengers from Hawaii to New Hampshire.
The committee also endorsed two of the 13: former state Rep. Dennis Ross in the race to succeed Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) and Iraq veteran Adam Kinzinger in the race against freshman Rep. Debbie Halvorson (D-Ill.).
In announcing the new members of the program, committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) also for the first time detailed how the program would be run.
Candidates begin at Stage One of the program, which is labeled “on the radar.” From there, they can ascend to “contender” status and, if they reach the highest level of the program, they are labeled “young guns.”
All 13 members of the program are at the first stage for now. They also include Martha Roby, who is running against Rep. Bobby Bright (D-Ala.); Van Tran, who is running against Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.); Cory Gardner, who is running against Rep. Betsy Markey (D-Colo.); Charles Djou, who is running for gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie’s (D-Hawaii) open seat; Vaughn Ward, who is running against Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho); Andy Harris, who is running against Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-Md.); Frank Guinta, who is running against Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.); Jon Barela, who is running against Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.); and Steve Stivers, who is running against Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Ohio).
In order to get involved in the NRCC’s program, Sessions said candidates must demonstrate a base of support, develop a media messaging plan for the race and show they are capable of raising enough money to get their message out.
He said too often members who lost in recent years eased their way into Congress without much trouble or campaign experience and then found themselves unprepared when things got difficult.
“Too many people came to Congress without being well-rounded,” he said. “Those days are gone.”
The new program aims to help whichever candidates qualify for it, and Sessions even suggested that multiple candidates from the same primary could get involved.
He suggested he would like to avoid primaries, especially late ones in the weeks before the general election. But he said the committee would “avoid the temptation of using our resources in primaries” and preferred to instead merely send a signal with its endorsements to local donors and activists.
The two endorsements include Ross’s, in which he is likely to face a nominal primary challenge. As the chairman of a committee that has been criticized recently for not throwing around its weight in primaries, Sessions signaled its primary philosophy will change to some degree.
“I am more concerned about victory than I am about waiting to see if I have a competitive primary,” he said.