Updated: 12:43 p.m.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has decided to give a snazzy new name to GOP nominees who are running in safely Republican open seats this fall.
The “Vanguard” program, which the NRCC kicked off on Wednesday, is designed to foster “a working relationship between the NRCC and these Vanguard candidates, as well as their future colleagues in the House Republican Conference, in advance of the election,” according to an NRCC news release.
Seven GOP candidates who have already won their primaries in safely Republican districts were named as part of the inaugural Vanguard class. The group includes Jeff Denham, who is running in California’s 19th district, Jeff Duncan in South Carolina’s 3rd district, Trey Gowdy in South Carolina’s 4th district, Todd Rokita in Indiana’s 4th district, Tim Scott in South Carolina’s 1st district, Marlin Stutzman in Indiana’s 3rd district and Steve Womack in Arkansas’ 3rd district.
The NRCC plans to expand the Vanguard program as the cycle progresses, so don’t be surprised to see the eventual GOP nominees in other safe open seats such as Tennessee’s 3rd and 6th districts to join the list.
The Vanguard program is being touted as an extension of the NRCC’s much-hyped “Young Guns” program for candidate recruitment. It also should not be confused with the NRCC’s “Patriot” program for vulnerable incumbents.
All three programs were installed as official components of the NRCC this cycle. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has created its “Red to Blue” program for targeted seats and “Frontline” program for vulnerable Members several cycles ago.
Ryan Rudominer, a DCCC spokesman, was contemptuous of the new Republican program.
“If the NRCC spent half as much time helping their flawed candidates win competitive races as it does measuring the drapes and creating new programs, maybe there would not be such a growing bipartisan chorus questioning its political competence,” he said.