The National Republican Congressional Committee has given three GOP House challengers “contender” status, the third out of four steps in the “Young Guns” program to recruit new and viable Republican candidates.

Republicans Tony Strickland in California, Jason Plummer in Illinois and Matt Doheny in New York were all elevated to the next level of the program Thursday.

The candidates will face new benchmarks for fundraising and recruiting before attaining “Young Guns” status.

NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) said Strickland, Plummer and Doheny “are determined to rein in reckless spending, cut taxes and return the economy back to a state of vitality."