It’s official: Andrew Roraback, the Republican candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, will be getting special help from the national GOP.

Roraback became a “Young Gun,” the designation given to competitive challengers, on Wednesday.

That designation will give him help with his campaign from National Republican Campaign Committee staffers, including introductions to top GOP donors and members of Congress who have leadership PACS. It also signals to an “independent” Young Guns super PAC that Roraback’s race is a priority.

The Young Guns program was established by Republican House leaders, including Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis, the GOP vice presidential nominee, in 2007 to identify the strongest candidates to win an open seat or defeat a Democratic incumbent.

Roraback has lagged behind his Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Esty, in fundraising, partly because Esty has been able to self-fund some of her campaign.

But national Democrats earlier this month have also singled out Esty for special help.

Both parties realize the 5th District race is becoming one of the most competitive House contests in the nation. It’s also the first time since 1998 that Connecticut has a race for an open U.S. House seat. The 5th District seat is currently held by Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy who is running for the U.S. Senate.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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