NRCC unofficially endorses Gibbons in third district primary

Yesterday the National Republican Congressional Committee gave another sign that Jim Gibbons is their man in the five-way primary for Iowa’s third Congressional district. Gibbons is among a dozen or so Republicans who have been added to the NRCC’s list of "on the radar" candidates.

The Young Guns program is designed to assist Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives achieve goals and benchmarks throughout the election cycle focused on the fundamentals of a winning campaign. By achieving ‘On the Radar’ status, Gibbons has already proven his ability to build a successful campaign structure and achieve important fundraising goals.

“The NRCC is committed to working with Jim Gibbons as he continues to meet the rigorous goals of the Young Guns program,” said NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions. “Jim is an accomplished, independent leader who has already built significant momentum behind his campaign. I am confident that Republicans will be successful in our effort to defeat Leonard Boswell, who is an out-of-touch politician solely focused on his party’s big-government, big-spending agenda rather than job creation.”

“On the radar” is the third tier for NRCC-backed challengers in Democratic-held districts. Republican candidates with somewhat better prospects are on the NRCC’s list of “contenders.” Republicans with the best pickup opportunities are called “young guns.” (The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has a similar three-tier structure, from the top-ranked “red to blue” districts to “emerging” candidates and “races to watch.”)

Washington Republicans have indicated before that Jim Gibbons is their choice in the IA-03 primary, but yesterday was the closest thing to an official endorsement we’ve seen from the national party insiders.

For some reason, there’s no asterisk denoting an “official” NRCC endorsement on this list of candidates in the Young Guns program. But that doesn’t matter much. By singling out Gibbons as an “on the radar” candidate, the NRCC is telling major donors and out-of-state political action committees where they should put their money. That is bound to increase Gibbons’ money advantage over his rivals in the primary.

I still don’t fully understand why Republicans are so much more interested in a former wrestling coach and financial advisor than in State Senator Brad Zaun, a former mayor of a major Republican vote-producing region of Polk County. Perhaps they think Gibbons can bring over Democratic-leaning Cyclone fans. If some well-connected Republican cares to enlighten me, please post a comment in this thread or send a confidential e-mail to desmoinesdem AT

THURSDAY UPDATE: More establishment support emerges for Gibbons, as former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert will headline a fundraiser to be hosted by former Representative Greg Ganske, who represented the fourth district (including Polk County) from 1995-2003. Hastert’s influence wasn’t enough to carry his son Ethan through in the recent GOP primary for Illinois’ 14th district (Hastert’s old seat).  

  • republicans in the 3rd district are not going for Gibbons....

    look at the polling date…..Gibbons even polls behind Funk in Polk county.

    Gibbons “endorsments” are all OUT of the 3rd district, as was 2/3 of his money….of course that makes sense as it seems Gibbons himself doesn’t live in the district. Some are referring to Gibbons now as the “wonderbra” candidate, as he has no visible 3rd district means of support.

    3rd district republicans are clearly rejecting the Gibbons “bought and paid for candidate” campaign. They do not want a candidate that will play fetch with the “Rastetter big money needing big government programs” group on command.

    The grassroots voter in the district, as reflected in the polls (and is early, but telling) are overwhemingly choosing Zaun.

    • it's so early, mirage

      Obama was a distant third in the Iowa polls five months before the caucuses.

      That poll showed 60 percent undecided. That leaves plenty of room for a candidate with money to pick up support.

  • hooking up with the crooked Hastert?

    Gibbons is making a massive mistake by hooking up with Dennis Hastert, after republicans got fed up with Hastert’s big spending ways (and padding his own account).

    Republicans (and Independents, and many Democrats) are running AGAINST this type of behavior, and with Gibbons putting his stamp of approval on Hastert, look for Gibbons to find himself between a rock and a hard place with conservative voters.

    Another huge fundamental mistake by a rookie campaign and staff.

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