NRCC Promotes 13 to ‘Young Guns’ Level

By John McArdle, CQ-Roll Call

The National Republican Congressional Committee will announce 13 new candidates who have achieved top honors within its “Young Guns” program today, more than doubling the list of GOP recruits who qualify for the highest level of fundraising and infrastructure support from the national party.

Among the new Young Guns that NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) will announce is Ashland County District Attorney Sean Duffy, whose campaign in Wisconsin got a major boost Wednesday when 21-term Democratic Rep. David R. Obey announced his retirement. Even before Obey’s announcement, Duffy — a former cast member on MTV’s “The Real World” reality series — had been earning increased national attention from party leaders, who are working to create the largest possible playing field and take advantage of what is expected to be a very good national environment for the GOP this fall

“The success of these candidates is testament to Americans’ frustration with an out-of-touch Democrat majority,” Sessions said in a statement that will be released today. “Our Young Guns’ ability to build formidable campaigns sends a loud and clear message to Democrats that they will be held accountable for their unpopular partisan agenda in November.”

But a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said the party looks forward to educating voters more about these top recruits.

“As a growing number of the NRCC Young Guns have already been learning the hard way, the more voters get to know about them, the less there is to like,” DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer said.

The Young Guns system ranks candidates in three levels: “On the Radar,” “Contender” and, finally, “Young Guns.” Candidates are named to the program by meeting individualized benchmarks set by the committee, which include developing grass-roots support, fundraising and creating a media plan. Those benchmarks become higher and more stringent with each level of the program.

Late last month the committee announced the addition of 40 more recruits to the program. After today’s announcement the NRCC will have 23 Young Guns, 27 Contenders and 65 On the Radar candidates.

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