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October 5, 2013

House hard-liners stand united in budget showdown

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

Few arguments have swayed these GOP newcomers, 71 from the tea party class of 2010 and 37 who arrived in Washington earlier this year. 
Many are too young to remember the last shutdown in 1995 and the political woes it created for the GOP.
The party’s last two presidential nominees — John McCain and Mitt Romney — have challenged the wisdom of the strategy but have been ignored. 
Republican senators have called the tactic dumb and a ploy but have failed to change minds. 
Nearly two dozen House Republicans have dissented, urging a vote on a straightforward bill to open the government, with little success.
Mullin’s fellow Oklahoman, six-term Republican Rep. Tom Cole, has also counseled against the stalemate, warning repeatedly that a shutdown and government default on paying its bills “are about the only two things that could jeopardize the House majority” next year.
 Cole is close to Boehner and serves as a deputy whip.
Says freshman Rep. Richard Hudson of North Carolina: “I’m more concerned about the impact of this law on the American people than I am about my re-election.”
In fact, Hudson and Mullin likely have little to worry about in the next election as neither has a viable Democratic challenger in Republican-trending Southern states.
 
In 2012, Hudson defeated conservative Democratic Rep. Larry Kissell, who managed to survive the tea party onslaught in 2010 but then lost in a district the legislature made more Republican by adding more GOP voters. Mullin won an open seat after conservative Dan Boren, one of the last remaining Southern Democrats and a constant top GOP target, decided not to run again.
 
By political degree of difficulty, Mullin’s district became 6 percentage points more Republican in 2012, while Hudson’s became 7 percentage points more Republican.
 
Mullin was just 20 when he took over the family plumbing business for his ailing father. It was a life lesson he employs today.

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