Tom Reynolds in Washington

| Wed Oct. 18, 2006 6:16 PM EDT

Tom Reynolds, head of the House Republican Campaign Committee, and another member of the House leadership mired into the Foley scandal, appeared in Washington at the National Press Club for lunch Wednesday noon. He talked about the House campaigns and identified "Members, money and message" as the most decisive factors in winning this year's midterm election. Reynolds had no message to give on his own involvement in the Foley page scandal. He did say, however, he doubts the scandal will effect any of the races.

Dozens of reporters, and a phalanx of cameras greeted him. Likely the last thing on anyone's mind was Reynolds opinion on the election. The Foley scandal was front and center. But in the harried scrum following the luncheon nobody asked him about it. Instead, it was "Hi Tom," and "How's your house, Tom?'' "Hey Tom, do you notice you are always in my lede?'' and so on. Not like, "What were you doing with Foley, Tom?'' Or: "Are you Hastert's fall guy?"

Reynolds's top assistant had previously worked for Foley. Reynolds reportedly is the one who talked Foley into seeking re-election this year.

Tom is best known of late for dodging questions by surrounding himself with children—just so you know he's no pervert—before blithering on about how he was doing his job just like any other worker, by passing the information on up the line to his "supervisor" House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Reynolds emphasized that the election was being fought by candidates, based on their reputation at the local level. "We are dealing with fierce contests fought by local personalities on local pocket book issues," said Reynolds. "[Constituents] will vote for Candidate A or Candidate B, not for a Republican or a Democratic Congress." According to Reynolds, the G.O.P. candidates are "excelling at the nuts and bolts" of the election at that local level.

Reynolds equated the growing size of Republican candidates' campaign coffers with election success. Said Congressman Chris Van Hollen, who spoke for the Democrats: "There's a real sense in this country that what has been the 'People's House' has become the auction house."

Get Mother Jones by Email - Free. Like what you're reading? Get the best of MoJo three times a week.