A top aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is leaving Capitol Hill to found a super PAC aimed at supporting GOP House candidates as the 2012 election cycle ramps up.
John Murray, Cantor’s deputy chief of staff, will depart the Virginia Republican’s office Friday.
Murray said Wednesday morning that the as-yet-unnamed super PAC will support “center-right candidates and policies that are in line with the ‘Young Guns’ movement, which is a movement that believes in free market, pro-growth, pro-business leaders and policies.”
News of Murray’s departure was first reported early Wednesday by National Journal’s Chris Frates, who cited sources stating that the new super PAC would be part of an effort to lay the groundwork for a potential 2012 vice-presidential bid by Cantor. But Murray said Wednesday that that was not the case and that the group would be focused solely on House races.
In the fall of 2007, the Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes used the term “Young Guns” in a piece profiling Cantor and other House Republican rising stars. Cantor, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) later used the phrase as the title of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s recruiting effort in 2008 and 2010 House races; the trio also last year penned a “Young Guns” book profiling up-and-coming GOP House candidates.
Super PACs, formally known as “independent expenditure-only committees,” came into being following two Supreme Court rulings late last year; the groups are able to raise and spend an unlimited amount of funds on political campaigns, although they may not directly coordinate with parties or candidates.
One noteworthy super PAC that filed its papers with the Federal Election Commission this week is the Strong Utah PAC, which was created to defend Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) from attacks by tea-party groups.