The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee unveiled its final wave of Jumpstart candidates for the 2014 cycle on Thursday, giving the seal of approval to one final set of recruits before the election year begins.
New this cycle, the Jumpstart program provides “early financial communications, operational and strategic support" to candidates, according to the committee. It also gives members and potential donors a sense of the DCCC's top candidates in competitive primaries.
"These four standout candidates are being added to the Jumpstart program because they’re committed to the right priorities, like working together to create good jobs, protect our seniors and give the middle class financial peace of mind,” said DCCC Chairman Steve Israel of New York in a statement.
The latest round of candidates are:
- Former Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays, who is running in the open-seat race to replace retiring GOP Rep. Tim Griffin in Arkansas' 2nd District.
- Former Federal Emergency Management Agency Director James Lee Witt, who is running in an open-seat race in Arkansas. Rep. Tom Cotton, a Republican, is leaving the 4th District to run for Senate.
- Former State Department aide Bobby McKenzie, who is challenging Republican Rep. Kerry Bentivolio in Michigan's 11th District. Bentivolio also faces a competitive primary with businessman David Trott.
- Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard, who is running in the open-seat race to replace retiring GOP Rep. Jon Runyan in New Jersey's 3rd District.
In the coming months, the DCCC will initiate its Red to Blue program. In previous cycles, that program has sought to "highlight top Democratic campaigns across the country and offers them financial, communications, grass-roots, and strategic support," according to the committee.
House Republicans recently unveiled their top recruits in a similar candidate program. The National Republican Congressional Committee put 36 candidates On the Radar — the first of three ranks in its Young Guns program.