Young Guns on Vaughn Ward's Loss

Congressional candidate Vaughn Ward, a member of the National Republican Congressional Committee's "Young Guns" program for top-flight recruits and an endorsee of Sarah Palin, lost his primary last night in Idaho. This came after a series of widely publicized campaign missteps, including the apparent lifting of a few lines from President Obama's 2004 Democratic convention speech and a reference to Puerto Rico as a country.

Coincidentally, the NRCC hosted 13 of its 23 Young Guns in Washington, DC today, and they spoke to reporters during an event at the GOP's Capitol Hill Club. Here's what some of them had to say about Ward.

"It's a fickle business," said Richard Hanna, who came close to beating Rep. Michael Arcuri in New York's 24th district in 2008 and is running to oppose him again. He still faces a primary for his district's nomination, but, given his performance in 2008, he's the clear frontrunner.

It was sad to see Ward lose, said Virginia candidate Scott Rigell, noting that Ward is a fellow Marine. "There were some unforced errors there, several unforced errors, and I'm determined not to make those." Rigell faces a crowded primary in Virginia's second district; he enjoys the backing of Gov. Bob McDonnell and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, a fellow Virginian.

That's the kind of unpredictable cycle we're seeing, according to Indiana's Larry Bucshon. "You might see the Young Gun...not win." Buschon has already won his May 4 primary in the state's Eighth Congressional District.

This sample of three isn't entirely representative: 13 of the NRCC's Young Guns have already won their district nominations or aren't facing primary opponents, while 10 do face primaries, though many of those aren't expected to be competitive.