The National Republican Congressional Committee named its first round of “On the Radar” candidates for the 2018 cycle, highlighting GOP challengers who could wage competitive races.
Each of the 31 candidates had to reach certain benchmarks in fundraising, messaging and communications to prove their viability, according to the NRCC. The notice is the first of three levels of the committee’s “Young Guns” recruitment program.
“These 31 candidates are formidable competitors against the liberal agenda of Nancy Pelosi and the left,” NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers said in a statement provided first to Roll Call. “We look forward to working with these candidates to grow our Republican majority and enact policies that help hard working Americans.”
House Republicans are largely on defense this election cycle, but the Thursday announcement shows the committee believes it has a number of strong challengers. This is the fourth cycle of the “Young Guns” program, which was launched in 2007 by Speaker Paul D. Ryan, current House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia.
Being named as an “On the Radar” candidate does not mean the committee will be contributing to the campaigns, since the NRCC does not get involved in open primaries. Instead, the program is a way to showcase candidates.
The committee has identified a handful of strong contenders in races rated Toss-Ups by Inside Elections With Nathan L. Gonzales, including:
- Arizona 1: Steve Smith
- Minnesota 1: Jim Hagedorn
- New Jersey 5: Steve Lonegan
In the Toss-Up race in the open New Hampshire 1st District, the NRCC named both Andy Sanborn and Eddie Edwards to the program.
The NRCC also named multiple candidates in the following races:
- Florida 7 (Tilts Democrat): Mike Miller and Scott Sturgill
- Kansas 2 (Leans Republican): Caryn Tyson and Scott Fitzgerald
- New Mexico 2 (Likely Republican) Yvette Herrell and Monty Newman
- Illinois 10 (Solid Democrat): Jeremy Wynes, Douglas Bennett and Sapan Shah
- South Dakota At-Large (Solid Republican): Dusty Johnson and Shantel Krebs
A source with the committee said it is not unusual for multiple candidates in the same race to be added to the program.
The committee identified two other candidates in races that are favored for Republicans:
The “On the Radar” candidates running in races that Tilt Democratic include:
- Florida 27: Bruno Barreiro
- Nevada 3: Victoria Seaman
- Washington 8: Dino Rossi
In Minnesota’s 8th District, which Leans Democratic, Pete Stauber has been identified as an “On the Radar” candidate.
For races that are Likely Democratic, the candidates include:
- California 7: Andrew Grant
- California 24: Justin Fareed
- Nevada 4: Stavros Anthony
- Pennsylvania 17: John Chrin
The rest of the “On the Radar” candidates in Solidly Democratic districts include:
- New Hampshire 2: Steve Negron
- Arizona 9: Steve Ferrara
- California 31: Sean Flynn
- Illinois 17: Mark Kleine
- Massachusetts 3: Rick Green
Correction 3:15 pm | An earlier version of this story misspelled Jim Hagedorn's name.