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Shooting Down the Young Guns

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s not every day that a wannabe GOP pol tells the National Republican Congressional Committee to suck it. But Dr. John McGoff has wrapped himself in the formal rejection — a badge of honor that he hopes will set him apart from the eight other contenders eyeing retiring Rep. Dan Burton’s Indiana seat.

McGoff, a three-time Congressional aspirant who first burst onto the national scene by slicing off a surprising 45 percent of the primary-vote pie when he challenged Burton in 2008, recently declined the NRCC’s offer to join the burgeoning Young Guns program.

“We’re gonna politely turn it down … because the voters are tired of people who are tied up with Washington,” a McGoff aide tells HOH.

The Young Guns program was originally organized by now-prominent Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Paul Ryan (Wis.) during the 2008 election cycle. The program currently boasts 75 recruits, split along three tiers:  “On the Radar” (base level), “Contender” (middle) and “Young Gun” (top).

Two of McGoff’s adversaries, ex-Rep. David McIntosh and Susan Brooks, are already on the “On the Radar” roster.

According to NRCC Communications Director Paul Lindsay, potential candidates rise through the ranks by completing predetermined campaign benchmarks (grass-roots organization, fundraising goals, hiring/expanding campaign staff). But he said participation is strictly voluntary.

“Every candidate has the choice of whether or not to enroll in the program,” Lindsay tells HOH.

McGoff appears to be reveling in his anti-establishment persona, painting those who seek the endorsement as out-of-touch operatives of a failed political regime.

“Congress has a 9 percent approval rating,” McGoff said in a release. “Voters want a Congressman who will represent ‘the People,’ not political parties and their leadership.”

Physician, heal thy party.

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