Updated: Sept. 16, 9:08 a.m.
The National Republican Congressional Committee will expand its Young Guns list of top recruits for a sixth time Thursday as Republicans try again to increase the House playing field less than seven weeks before Election Day.
Eighteen GOP candidates are set to be promoted to Young Guns status, bringing the total to 75. The committee has not ruled out expanding the list further before Nov. 2.
The latest additions include Republicans who won competitive primaries Tuesday in races that have long been considered GOP targets for the fall, such as Randy Altschuler in New York’s 1st district, Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta in New Hampshire’s 1st district and former Rep. Charlie Bass in New Hampshire’s 2nd district.
But the list also has several candidates in races that haven’t been considered competitive until recently. They include Republicans Ryan Frazier in Colorado’s 7th district, state Rep. Scott Tipton in Colorado’s 3rd district, state Rep. Mike Keown in Georgia’s 2nd district, state Rep. Austin Scott in Georgia’s 8th district and sportscaster Harold Johnson in North Carolina’s 8th district.
Other Republicans who will achieve Young Guns status Thursday are Randy Demmer in Minnesota’s 1st district, Bob Gibbs in Ohio’s 18th district, Vicky Hartzler in Missouri’s 4th district, Dan Kapanke in Wisconsin’s 3rd district, Spike Maynard in West Virginia’s 3rd district, Jeff Miller in North Carolina’s 11th district, Ilario Pantano in North Carolina’s 7th district, Reid Ribble in Wisconsin’s 8th district, Bobby Schilling in Illinois’ 17th district and Van Tran in California’s 47th district.
The Young Guns system ranks candidates in three levels: “On the Radar,” “Contender” and, finally, “Young Guns.” Candidates are named to the program by meeting individualized benchmarks set by the committee, which include developing grass-roots support, fundraising and creating a media plan.
Being named a Young Gun qualifies a candidate for the highest level of support from the committee, although not every Young Gun has received the most coveted prize: television advertising buys in his or her district. The NRCC has bought or reserved television airtime in 47 districts so far this cycle, but that list is expected to expand.