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GOP picks new crop of 2010 ‘guns’

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The National Republican Congressional Committee announced the names Wednesday of the 16 candidates who have reached the highest level of the group's "Young Guns" program, challengers the party sees as key to retaking control of the House of Representatives this fall.

Among the candidates are Andy Barr of Kentucky, the Republican nominee for the House seat of incumbent Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler, and Keith Fimian, who will challenge Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly for his House seat in Northern Virginia.

The three-tier program provided the candidates with fundraising, campaign advice and other support. The number of candidates in the entire program is now 39, the exact number of wins Republicans will need to take control of the House. However, at least two of the Young Guns are running for opens seats now held by Republicans, which means the party would need to win more than 39 races to control the chamber.

Group spokesman Paul Lindsay said the 16 reached the third-and-final tier by hitting benchmarks in such areas as fundraising, polling and communications.

California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the group's recruiting chairman, said more candidates will be added before the November elections.

The program was started during the 2007-2008 election cycle to recruit and groom candidates challenging Democratic incumbents as well as those running for open seats.

The 14 other candidates are: Rick Crawford, Arizona; Robert Dold, Adam Kinzinger and Randy Hultgren, Illinois; Stephen Fincher, Tennessee; Mike Fitzpatrick, Pennsylvania; David Harmer, California; Joe Heck, Nevada; Robert Hurt, Virginia; David McKinley, West Virginia; Mick Mulvaney, South Carolina; Kristi Noem, South Dakota; Tom Reed, New York; and Todd Young, Indiana.

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