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 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.