Republican Steve Chabot, who’s trying to win his old Congressional seat back from Democrat Steve Driehaus, is one of 10 candidates chosen for the GOP’s “Young Guns” program this year.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) selects candidates for the program, which is designed to offer training and assistance to challengers in districts deemed vulnerable to a GOP win.
During the last election cycle, five House GOP challengers won against incumbent Democrats. Four of those were selected as Young Guns: Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, Pete Olson of Texas and Tom Rooney of Florida.
That’s all well and good, but maybe Republicans should consider renaming the program with a more appropriate moniker.
In this context, the word “young” generally means one of two things. It could refer to chronological age (which, at age 57, Chabot doesn’t qualify) or to being a political newcomer (which, having served seven terms in the U.S. House before his ouster in 2008, Chabot also doesn’t qualify).
But it’s easy to see why Chabot's race might have been picked. A January poll conducted by Survey USA found Driehaus trailing Chabot by 17 points, 56-39 percent.
The Young Guns program is meant to be a candidate recruitment and training program for House Republicans and help Republican candidates “build a foundation for victory,” according to the NRCC’s Web site.
“The Young Guns is not just a political program, but an ongoing movement to go on (the) offense and strengthen the GOP, welcoming your participation and support of strong Republican candidates nationwide,” the Web site states.
Still, you would think after spending 14 years inside the Beltway, Chabot would be an old hand at campaigning and wouldn’t need the extra help.