Mitt Romney’s loss in the 2012 presidential election this month brought unexpected collateral damage on another Republican drive - the much-touted “Young Guns” effort to bring a new crop of party stars to Washington.
The GOP’s recruitment campaign was led in California by Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, the House majority whip, who joined Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia and 2012 vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as the founders of the group touted as “a new generation of conservative leaders” on Capitol Hill.
Their nationwide effort, funded by the National Republican Congressional Committee, aimed to recruit and promote rising new stars in the party who were chosen for their viability and fundraising potential. It was billed as the best way to revive the party and cultivate new GOP legislators in California and other blue states.
But the results at the polls weren’t impressive. All but one of the Young Guns candidates in California were defeated, including Ricky Gill, the 25-year-old Indian American from San Joaquin County, while some longtime GOP veterans lost, including Rep. Dan Lundgren of Gold River (Sacramento County), who fell to up-and-coming Democrat Ami Bera.
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