( – promoted by Colorado Pols)
The National Republican Congressional Committee on Thursday is releasing its second round of “Young Guns” — the top tier challengers who qualify for the party’s highest level of fundraising and infrastructure support — and once again Cory Gardner’s name isn’t on the list.
The Young Guns list now has 23 names, some of whom, like Gardner, still face possible primary challenges. Tom Lucero and Dean Madere are the other GOP candidates in the 4th Congressional District. But Gardner apparently hasn’t met the fundraising and organizational benchmarks the NRCC set for him when he was brought into the program last year. Gardner is still ranked as a “contender” in the NRCC program.
As explained in February when Gardner wasn’t on the first list of 10 Young Guns, each candidate participating in the program is given a set of benchmarks for fundraising and organizing that must be met to advance through the program. The state representative from Yuma had the best first quarter fundraising level ever for a challenger in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District, but it appears he’s still not where the NRCC thinks he should be in challenging Rep. Betsy Markey, a first-term Democrat.
The Young Guns program is the key Republican effort for trying to win seats currently held by Democrats. It’s modeled off the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s successful “Red to Blue” program. Markey was named to the Red to Blue program in June 2008 and went on to unseat incumbent Marilyn Musgrave. This year, Markey is a member of the Frontline program, the DCCC’s primary effort to bolster vulnerable incumbents.
The NRCC and DCCC will be making critical decisions come fall on where national party resources will be directed in potentially dozens of critical races. Those two groups spent almost $3 million in the 4th Congressional District in 2008. At this point, Markey appears to be a top priority for the DCCC, while Gardner appears to be a second tier candidate for the NRCC. But that could change as the year goes along.
See my Coloradoan blog for links: http://bit.ly/9rLP6e