NRCC picks 11 more 'Young Guns'

The National Republican Congressional Committee has named 11 more candidates to "Young Guns" status, the top designation in its three-level recruitment program.

The GOP hopefuls are the third round of candidates to receive the designation in the training program designed to provide support to challenger and open-seat candidates nationwide. The NRCC's announcement brings the total number of Young Guns candidates to 32. 

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"Candidates that reach 'Young Gun' status have met a series of rigorous goals that will put them in position to win on Election Day," NRCC Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said in a statement. "Our job as a committee is to help elect Republicans to office that will serve as a check and balance on the Obama administration." 

Included in the list of new Young Guns are two former political aides facing competitive open-seat challenges. The NRCC gave a nod to Elise Stefanik, a former White House aide vying for Rep. Bill Owens's (D-N.Y.) open seat, and David Young, a former Capitol Hill aide chosen in the GOP nominating convention to face state Sen. Staci Appel in the contest for Rep. Tom Latham's (R-Iowa) seat. Both Owens and Latham are retiring at the end of the year. 

The committee recognized four other open-seat candidates: French Hill, vying for Rep. Tim Griffin's (R-Ark.) seat; Bruce Westerman, running for Rep. Tom Cotton's (R-Ark.) seat; Ryan Zinke, seeking Rep. Steve Daines's (R-Mont.) seat; and Rod Blum, pursuing Rep. Bruce Braley's (D-Iowa) seat. Cotton, Daines and Braley are all seeking Senate seats, while Griffin is running for lieutenant governor. 

Also achieving Young Guns status are Mariannette Miller-Meeks, challenging Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa); Lee Zeldin, challenging Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.); former Rep. Nan Hayworth, running in a rematch against Rep. Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.); John Katko, challenging Rep. Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.); and Will Hurd, facing Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Texas). All of these races are considered to lean toward Democratic candidate.