The Young Guns Network, and its YG Action Fund, were started by two former aides to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
The Young Guns have infuriated supporters of Richard Mourdock in the Indiana Senate primary race, as well as many conservatives who had no stake in the race, by spending over $100,000 to send out anti-Mourdock mailers, including one which encouraged non-Republicans to vote in the primary to support Lugar.
A reader in Indiana sent me this image of a mailer he received, which he marked up to express his feelings:
While the Young Guns are solely responsible for the mailer, the taint is falling on Cantor, who had no role in the mailer and has not endorsed any candidate.
Stories at major publications and in the blogosphere about the mailer revolve around the fact that the Young Guns is associated with or somehow related to Cantor:
- Politico, Cantor-allied Young Guns Network urges non-Republicans to vote in Lugar race (linked at Lucianne)
- The Weekly Standard, ‘Young Guns’ Fire Another Shot for Lugar in Senate Primary:”The Young Guns Network, a group affiliated with House Republican majority leader Eric Cantor, is encouraging Democrats in Indiana to vote in the May 8 GOP primary for incumbent senator Dick Lugar.”
- National Review: “Mourdock’s camp is responding to news, first reported by Politico’s Maggie Haberman, that the Young Guns Network, a political-advocacy group led by two former aides to Representative Eric Cantor, is encouraging independents and Democrats to vote for Lugar in Indiana’s open GOP primary on May 8.”
- Erick Erickson, Eric Cantor Doesn’t Want You. He Wants Democrats
- Gateway Pundit: Unreal… Eric Cantor’s PAC Urges Dems and Independents to Vote For Lugar.
- Left Coast Rebel: House Majority Leader Asks Dems to Help Him Beat Conservatives.
- (added) Michelle Malkin: Indiana GOP Sen. candidate Richard Mourdock vs. Beltway GOP establishment
It is unlikely that the mailer will have much of an effect in bringing out the Democratic vote for Lugar in large numbers — although if the election were really tight even a small Democratic cross-over might make a difference.
The greatest effect of the mailer is to portray Cantor — unfairly — as committing the ultimate political sin of urging Democrats to decide a Republican election. I e-mailed these questions to Young Guns yesterday, requesting a response in time for this post:
1. Why does Young Guns consider it appropriate to urge Democrats and Independents to vote in the open Republican primary to support Lugar?
2. Are you concerned that the actions of Young Guns will damage Majority Leader Cantor?
3. Does Majority Leader Cantor support the efforts of Young Guns with regard to the Lugar-Mourdock race?
4. Will Young Guns be contributing any additional funding or mailers to the effort to elect Lugar?
I have not heard any response.
As readers know, I am a big fan of Cantor. He has fought some really hard fights with Obama and the Democrats, and has been singled out for a campaign of demonization and his family has been threatened. I’ve even thrown his name out there for Veep (although no one else seems to be doing so yet).
While there may be nothing he can do to intervene with Young Guns because of campaign laws, I urge the Cantor campaign not to ignore this issue.
The Young Guns are aiming for Mourdock, but they’re hitting Cantor.