* Politico claims that “A relentless combination of big fundraising and recruiting just the right candidates transformed the Republican Governors Association into a political force”…
The RGA has avoided congressional Republicans’ problems, especially in hard-to-win blue states, by playing a relentless but “quiet” role in recruiting candidates that fit their states, [Phil Musser, a former executive director of the RGA] said.
Moderate Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker started going to RGA conferences years before he first ran for the office in 2010. After losing to then-Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick in a three-way race, Baker was reluctant to try again four years later.
The RGA responded by organizing a barrage of phone calls from GOP governors and major donors to convince Baker another run would be worth it.
“He needed folks to come to him and say: ‘We’ll have your back,’” said Phil Cox, who served as the RGA’s executive director when Baker won in 2014. “And we were all over him.”
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner was a RGA donor for years before a similar recruiting pitch helped convince him to run for office himself in 2013. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey started attending RGA conferences four years before he ran and won last year.
I don’t know much about Massachusetts or Arizona, but that may be a bit of RGA resume inflation regarding Rauner.
Then again, now we know whom to blame, or thank.