NRCC Builds Bridges with Conservative Bloggers

Matt Lewis
|
Posted: May 19, 2009 2:44 PM
With many conservative bloggers outraged over the National Republican Senatorial Committee's (NRSC) primary support for Charlie Crist (and other moderates) -- the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is increasing outreach to conservative bloggers.

This makes sense, inasmuch as the House has always been more conservative-friendly.  Newt Gingrich, for example, would probably not have been successful had he tried to lead his revolution from the upper-chamber.

It is unclear whether the timing of this is a coincidence (it may just be the time in the cycle to engage us) -- or an effort to capitalize on the current NRSC schism -- but consider this:  I've been inside the NRCC twice in the past week.  Prior to that, it had been more than a year since I stepped foot inside the RNC/NRCC building (the last time, it was to interview former RNC Deputy Chairman Frank Donatelli). 

Last week, a handful of us attended an "around the world" session -- a detailed PowerPoint briefing on the state of hundreds of Congressional races around the country. 

This week, forty-plus center-right bloggers gathered at the NRCC to hear Chairman Pete Sessions and Executive Director Guy Harrison host a discussion and Q&A session.  The occasion was the launch of their new "Patriot Program" -- but what was said was less important than that the invitation was extended. 

To be sure, the NRCC hasn't faced the same kinds of high-profile internecine disputes as the NRSC -- but they have also been much more aggressive in terms of keeping in touch with conservative bloggers.  Much of the credit here belongs to the NRCC's well-liked eCampaign Director, John Randall.  Randall, who came to the NRCC via the NRSC, has assiduously cultivated conservative bloggers.  Last year, for example, he made several personal trips to Townhall.com's palatial offices in historic Rosslyn, VA.

While the NRCC is stepping up efforts, the RNC and NRSC don't seem to be interested.  Since popular New Media guru Liz Mair left the RNC, I have no idea who is supposed to be doing outreach to conservative bloggers (in fairness, I think after their tenth email in one night, I did ask to be removed from their list).  I'm also not sure whether or not the NRSC even has someone tasked with reaching out to bloggers. 

While conservative bloggers should always be skeptical of being coopted by party concerns, it would be terrific to see conservative House members build relationships with conservative bloggers, as they seek to eventually take back the House.