From the Wall Street Journal:
Scott Rigell is best known around Virginia Beach as a car dealer. Come January, he is hoping to be known by another title: congressman.
Seeking to tap into growing anti-establishment discord among voters, the Republican Party is actively seeking candidates who have never before held elected office.
Bruce O’Donoghue owns a company that makes traffic-light systems; he is challenging Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson. Jon Runyan, a former player for the Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers, is running in southern New Jersey.
“My roots run deep in Tennessee, not politics,” reads the banner across the campaign Web site of Stephen Fincher, a Tennessee farmer and gospel singer heavily wooed by Washington Republicans to run this year.
Such Republicans are contesting six of the 20 most competitive House seats currently held by Democrats. At least as many are found in districts that could become more competitive as election season heats up. Filing deadlines to run for Congress are still months away in most states, so it is possible more newcomers could join the fold.
Running political newcomers is a proven strategy when the political tide swings drastically toward one side, and at times when voters have soured on Washington in general. In 1994, when Republicans won a majority of House seats after four decades in the minority, 55% of the party’s 73 freshmen lawmakers had never held political office. Similarly in 2006, when Democrats took control, 45% of their new lawmakers had never held office before.
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