Who are GOP's 'Young Guns' and what do they want from Election 2010?
Many of the GOP's 'Young Guns' running for House seats see small businesses as America's economic savior – and want government to get out of their way.
(Page 2 of 2)
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
"May 1, 2009, was the darkest day in American capitalism, because that was the day government stepped in and said who should stay and who should go," he said. "I saw that government could step in and take my dealership."
Three months later, he launched his run for Congress. "This isn't about political parties; this is about being an American."
For their part, the architects of the Young Guns campaign – three Republican congressmen – have no problem with their protégés taking potshots at the establishment.
"The people we talk to and hear from everyday have made it clear that they're not in love with either party these days," wrote Reps. Eric Cantor (R) of Virginia, Kevin McCarthy (R) of California, and Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin in their new book, "Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders." "Republicans controlled Washington from 2001 to 2006. They did some good things, but they also did a lot to give conservatism a bad name."
Young Gun businessmen can be a tough target for Democratic incumbents, because the newcomers to politics often have no voting record. Instead, Democrats are going after their business records. Rep. Mark Critz (D) of Pennsylvania defied the polls by defeating GOP businessman Tim Burns in a special election last spring, attacking his opponent's record on outsourcing jobs.
More recently, GOP challenger Ganley faced a sexual harassment complaint from a woman who says she sought a job at his dealership. The woman on Monday revised her complaint, dropping her previous and more serious allegations of sexual assault. Ganley and the NRCC call it an extortion attempt timed to disrupt the campaign, and Ganley denies all charges.
But overall, GOP businessmen say their outsider status is giving them an edge. David McKinley, running for an open seat in West Virginia's First Congressional District, has worked in engineering and construction for 45 years, 30 as head of his own firm, McKinley and Associates. Unemployment in the construction industry here is running at 35 percent, and people are disappointed that so little of last year's $787 billion stimulus plan went to bricks and mortar projects, he said at a volunteer firemen's breakfast in Kingswood, W.Va.
He proposes taking 5 percent out of the US foreign-aid budget and using it to put construction workers back to work making federal and state buildings energy efficient. "Let's use the money now being used to build infrastructure in other countries to put our people back to work," he says.