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Rudy Talks to GOP's 'Young Guns'

By Paul Kane
Former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani continues to try to keep up his political profile, trekking to Capitol Hill this morning to talk about the future of the Republican Party to a group of younger GOP lawmakers who are likely to become the party's next generation of leaders.

Giuliani, who recently opened a new political committee and attended a New York Yankees game with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), tried to rally House Republicans who have started the "Young Guns" fund -- a group of lawmakers committed to raising funds for 20 challengers this fall up against Democratic incumbents.

Led by Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), 45, Paul Ryan (Wisc.), 38, and Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), 43, the lawmakers running the "Young Guns" fund hail largely from the ranks of relative newcomers to the Capitol who are trying to finance challengers who are generationally their compatriots. Giuliani spoke on a day when the Republican lawmakers were hosting a breakfast fund-raising event at the Republican National Committee's Capitol Hill Club to benefit Chris Hackett, a 45-year-old from northeastern Pennsylvania running against Rep. Chris Carney (D-Pa.).

"It's a tough national environment but we can win if we individualize races," Giuliani told the Republicans, according to a participants at the meeting. The mayor also stressed the importance of staying "positive" and unified, while also urging the younger House Republicans to get on the campaign trail as surrogates for McCain's presidential campaign.

Giuliani, whose presidential campaign flamed out when he bet his race on the Florida primary, which McCain won, was speaking to a group of Republicans who have watched their party's status on Capitol Hill implode over the past two years. Other than the current, largely unified offensive calling for more domestic drilling, House Republicans have been split into factions for most of the spring and summer as Democrats scored a series of key victories on domestic legislation.

House Republicans lost three straight special elections in March and May in districts GOP incumbents had previously held for several decades, and their campaign committee faces a 7-to-1 deficit in cash on hand against its Democratic counterpart. To that end, the 20 "Young Guns" -- including Pete Olson, GOP challenger to Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas), a district previously held by Tom DeLay -- have collected $1.6 million combined in donations from the Cantor-Ryan-McCarthy group of lawmakers.

In addition, participants in the meeting said, the GOP lawmakers told Giuliani that they will need him out on the trail stumping for Republican candidates for the House. "We won't be bashful about asking you to come campaign for us," Cantor said.

No commitments have been made, but the former mayor is likely to accept the request.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 24, 2008; 5:53 PM ET
Categories:  Republican Party  
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