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.
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 GriffinTim GriffinTea Party class reassesses record Huckabee's daughter to run '16 campaign Lawmakers seek Purple Heart for victims of Little Rock shooting MORE's (R-Ark.) seat; Bruce Westerman, running for Rep. Tom CottonTom CottonArk., Texas senators put cheese dip vs. queso to the test Overnight Defense: Debate over Mattis heats up | White House releases military force rules Senate GOP to Obama: Stop issuing new rules MORE's (R-Ark.) seat; Ryan Zinke, seeking Rep. Steve Daines's (R-Mont.) seat; and Rod Blum, pursuing Rep. Bruce BraleyBruce BraleyTrump: Ernst wanted 'more seasoning' before entertaining VP offer Criminal sentencing bill tests McConnell-Grassley relationship Trump's VP list shrinks MORE'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 BishopTim BishopDems separated by 29 votes in NY House primary Flint residents hire first K Street firm House moves to vote on .1T package; backup plan in place MORE (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 GallegoPete P. GallegoVulnerable Texas GOP lawmaker survives rematch 5 races for tech to watch Vulnerable House freshmen passed most bills in decades, analysis finds MORE (D-Texas). All of these races are considered to lean toward Democratic candidate.