Utah’s Fourth Congressional District: What’s in a Young Gun?

[Updated 4-3-2014] A candidate’s level in the Young Guns program is largely determined by fundraising. Rumors are that Bob Fuehr, who is at the first level of the program, is largely there due to loans to his campaign to put him over the threshold. People close to his campaign, however, indicate that Bob Fuehr is “in it to win it.”


Young GunsWith Jim Matheson retiring at the end of his term, the odds on favorite to win the seat will be a Republican.

I say “will” because short of a scandal for the Republican nominee, it’s more likely that Suriname will host the Winter Olympics than that Democrat Doug Owens will win the seat in 2014.

Sorry, Doug. You’re in a state where no one knows your name and no one really wants to trust an unknown Democrat, either.

But let’s get back to the Fourth Congressional: which Republican will it be?

Bob Fuehr, candidate for the Republican nomination for Utah's Second Congressional District, has been added to the NRCC Young Guns program as "On the Radar"
Bob Fuehr, candidate for the Republican nomination for Utah’s Fourth Congressional District, has been added to the NRCC Young Guns program as “On the Radar”

If you’re a Republican running for Congress, the recognition you want is from the National Republican Congressional Committee‘s Young Guns program.

Designed for Republican candidates for the US House of Representatives, the candidates must fulfill a rigorous set of criteria to qualify, especially that they are likely to win.  According to the program’s site, Young Guns was co-founded in the 2007-2008 election cycle by Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) “to grow the Republican Majority in the House of Representatives.”

Given that Utah is Republican, that the Fourth Congressional Seat is open, and that chances are more than good a Republican will win the seat, I suspect that qualifying for the Young Guns program is a must for serious candidates.

Broken up into three stages of progress, Mia Love is one of seventeen candidates nationwide qualified as a Contender, the second tier of the program, and Bob Feuhr is one of fifty On the Radar candidates in the beginning tier.

Mia Love, candidate for the Republican nomination for Utah's Second Congressional District, has been added to the NRCC Young Guns program as a "Contender"
Mia Love, candidate for the Republican nomination for Utah’s Fourth Congressional District, has been added to the NRCC Young Guns program as a “Contender”

“As a formidable candidate in this race,” said Fuehr, “I look forward to continuing my campaign for the nomination. While my daily focus is on the concerns of Utah’s 4th District delegates and constituents, the recognition that comes with this NRCC ‘Young Gun’ designation is an additional indicator of the momentum we are building in this race.”

It’s momentum he’ll need. After coming within 768 votes of beating Matheson in 2012, Love has become something akin to a hometown celebrity (in a good way) here in Utah and nationally, and is widely expected to walk away with the nomination.

Getting into the Young Guns program, though, is notable, and says something about Fuehr’s campaign. Even as an underdog, and in this race he is the underdog, he’s managed to raise sufficient money to be credible, organize a team, and convince at least a few people to give him consideration as an alternate to Mia.

Only time will show if it’ll be enough to get him more than a showing at the convention.

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