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Exclusive: NRCC Adds 8 More Vulnerable Members to Patriot Program

Walden is the chairman of the NRCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee added eight more members to its Patriot program Friday, according to a list provided first to CQ Roll Call.  

The program provides fundraising and organizational support to the GOP Caucus' most vulnerable incumbents. Democrats are targeting these members in 2016, when the party will look to make a dent in the House Republican majority.  

The eight new members brings the total number of GOP incumbents in the program to 20.  

“Our new Patriots have diligently shown they have what it takes to work hard and run aggressive and successful campaigns," NRCC Chairman Greg Walden said in a news release. "They are determined to work for a better economy, a strong national defense, and to continue fighting for hard-working families in their districts. I am honored to work beside them in the House and I am excited to help ensure their re-election well beyond 2016.”  

The members added to the program are, in alphabetical order:

  • Rep. Dan Benishek, who represents Michigan's Traverse City-based 1st District. Democrats are targeting Benishek, who broke a self-imposed three-term limit pledge to run for re-election in 2016. Benishek may also face a primary for his seat, which GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried by an 8-point margin in 2012. The race is rated a Leans Republican contest by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.
  • Freshman Rep. Barbara Comstock, who represents the Northern Virginia-based 10th District. Comstock's district is competitive territory in a presidential cycle. Romney carried it by a slim 1-point margin in 2012, while President Barack Obama carried it by 3 points four years earlier. Democrats are working to recruit a woman candidate to run against her. Rating: Leans Republican.
  • Freshman Rep. Ryan A. Costello, who represents Pennsylvania's 6th District. Romney carried the suburban Philadelphia district by 2 points in 2012, while Obama carried it by a 7-point margin in 2008. Rating: Republican Favored.
  • Rep. Rodney Davis, the two-term Republican who represents Illinois' 13th District. Davis' Springfield-based seat is competitive territory. Romney carried it by a fraction of a point in 2012. But Democrats have had trouble recruiting here. Rating: Safe Republican.
  • Rep. Jeff Denham, who represents California's 10th District. Obama carried the two-term Republican's Northern California district twice. Rating: Safe Republican.
  • Freshman Rep. Steve Knight, who represents California's 25th District. Knight raised a paltry $29,000 in the first quarter, and created controversy by threatening a protester in his district — an incident caught on camera. Romney won the northern Los Angeles County-based district in 2012, while Obama carried it four years earlier. Rating: Safe Republican.
  • Freshman Rep. Elise Stefanik, who represents New York's 21st District. The youngest woman ever elected to Congress will face her first re-election in 2016 in a district Obama carried twice. Rating: Safe Republican.
  • Rep. Tim Walberg, who represents Michigan's 7th District. The Southern Michigan-based district is swing territory. And Democrats are touting their recruit, state Rep. Gretchen Driskell, as the kind of candidate who can carry the seat. Rating: Tilts Republican.

Related: NRCC Announces 12 Members in Patriot Program DCCC Announces 14 Incumbents in Frontline Program DCCC Picks Frontline Chairman to Protect Vulnerables  The One-Term Caucus? Top House Targets in 2016 What Happened to the 10 Most Vulnerable House Members?    

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