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House GOP reelection arm announces first round of candidates to watch in competitive battlegrounds

EXCLUSIVE: The House GOP reelection committee is spotlighting an initial list of promising Republican candidates running in the 2022 midterms in some of the nation’s most competitive congressional districts. 

The list by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which was shared first with Fox News on Tuesday, includes 32 candidates from districts across the country. 

Those on the list are labeled “On the Radar” candidates, the initial step in the NRCC’s “Young Guns” program. The 14-year-old program, led by the NRCC in conjunction with House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, helps equip Republican candidates across the country who show the promise of running successful campaigns with “the tools they need” to win.

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Candidates deemed “On the Radar” are Republicans running in competitive districts who’ve exhibited potential by meeting minimum thresholds for campaign fundraising and organization.

“Our movement is more united, energized, and passionate than I’ve ever seen it,” McCarthy, R-Calif., told Fox News. “I’m proud to welcome these candidates to the Young Guns program and I look forward to working together to not only take the House — but to build a lasting Republican majority.”

In this April 22, 2021, file photo, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California speaks during his weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

In this April 22, 2021, file photo, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California speaks during his weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

While Republicans lost the White House and their Senate majority in the 2020 elections, they defied expectations and took a big bite out of the Democrats’ large House majority. The GOP needs a net gain of just five seats in the 435-seat chamber in the 2022 midterms to recapture the majority it lost in the 2018 election.

In the 2020 midterms, 25 of the 36 “Young Guns” were elected to Congress. And the NRCC also notes that the program has helped elect over 150 GOP members of Congress since its inception.

Those on the list are Walt Blackman and Eli Crane (AZ-01), Juan Ciscomani (AZ-02), Christopher Rodriguez (CA-49), Brady Duke and Cory Mills (FL-07), Amanda Makki and Anna Paulina Luna (FL-13), Jake Evans, Harold Earls, and Meagan Hanson (GA-06), Rich McCormick (GA-07), Zach Nunn (IA-03), Esther Joy King (IL-17), Amanda Adkins (KS-03), Bruce Poliquin (ME-02), Tyler Kistner (MN-02) and Ryan Zinke (MT-02).

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Also included are Tim Baxter, Gail Huff Brown, Karoline Leavitt and Matt Mowers (NH-01), Tom Kean Jr. (NJ-07), Colin Schmitt (NY-18), Marcus Molinaro (NY-19), Alek Skarlatos (OR-04), Lisa Scheller (PA-07), Monica De La Cruz Hernandez (TX-15), Wesley Hunt (TX-38), Jen Kiggans (VA-02), Jesse Jensen (WA-08) and Derrick Van Orden (WI-03).

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