Some consultants and staffers have left David Richter’s congressional campaign after the National Republican Congressional Committee told them they would be blackballed if they worked against a GOP incumbent in a primary.
The announcement last week that Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) was switching parties with the full support of the White House has led the NRCC to cut their ties with any of the Republicans who had been planning to challenge Van Drew in the 2002 general election.
Chris Russell and Larry Weitzner are among the Richter strategists who are departing.
“I don’t know why the party feels they have to prop up Van Drew by attacking me,” Richter said. “The fact that the NRCC pressured them and threatened them is disappointing.”
Richter praises Russell and Weitzner, calling them the best in the industry. He said he was sorry to see them go, but understands the position they are in.
Both work extensively with national Republicans.
The NRCC announced on October 30 that Richter had been named to its “On the Radar” list of Republican House challengers – a designation that comes after a candidate reaches certain fundraising and organizational goals.
Richter’s name and photograph have been removed from the NRCC website.
Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minnesota), the NRCC chairman, endorsed Van Drew upon his party switch last week.
“This is now a Republican seat and we will fight tooth and nail to ensure it remains a Republican seat,” Emmer said in a statement.
Earlier this year, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee barred consultants working for incumbent Democratic House members from assisting primary challengers against another incumbent.