NRCC Announces First Round of 'Contender' Candidates

Jackie Walorski, running for an open seat in Indiana, was among the GOP candidates elevated by the National Republican Congressional Committee today. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee today announced the first round of candidates to make it to the third step in its Young Guns candidate program.

Eleven Republicans running in open seats or against Democratic incumbents were named “Contender” candidates, elevating them from the initial enrollment and “On the Radar” steps. The candidates must meet district-specific benchmarks to move through the program.

Four of the 11 ran and lost in 2010, and another four are running in California — a new breeding ground of competition for both parties. The California candidates include law student Ricky Gill in the 9th district; Assemblyman David Valadao in the 21st; former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado in the 24th and Long Beach City Councilman Gary DeLong in the 47th.

Other Contender candidates are: attorney Tom Cotton in Arkansas’ 4th district; 2010 nominee Jackie Walorski in Indiana’s 2nd district; 2010 nominee Andy Barr in Kentucky’s 6th district; former state Sen. Richard Tisei in Massachusetts’ 6th district; 2010 nominee Randy Altschuler in New York’s 1st district; 2010 nominee Keith Rothfus in Pennsylvania’s 12th district and retired state police officer Brendan Doherty in Rhode Island’s 1st district.

"These candidates have worked hard to meet the benchmarks that have been laid out before them and are determined to hold Washington Democrats accountable this November," NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) said in a statement. "With Americans desperate for change, these 11 candidates are determined to rein in reckless spending, cut taxes and return the economy back to a state of vitality."