The National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) said Dan Debicella, who is running against Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, has earned the right to be “On the Radar” in the NRCC’s “Young Guns” program.  

The Young Guns program is aimed at culling the best GOP challengers or candidates for open seats and helping them in campaign strategy and money.

The NRCC said Thursday that 36 Republican candidates are “On the Radar.” Debicella is the only one from Connecticut, even though Mark Greenberg, a Republican running for the 5th District seat, has what could be argued a more vulnerable rival in first-term Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty. 

Could the NRCC’s decision be based, at least in part, on the fact that Himes is the chief fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the NRCC’s bitter opposition?

“Absolutely not,” said NRCC spokesman Ian Prior. “This has nothing to do with who someone is running against. (Debicella) has met certain fundraising and organizational benchmarks.”

But Debicella has yet to file a campaign finance form with the Federal Election Commission and only began fundraising at the beginning of October.

Nevertheless, the NRCC is talking up Debicella. “I am confident that Dan Debicella will be a successful and dedicated member of this program and that he will continue to work hard to reach the crucial campaign benchmarks that have been established ahead of the 2014 elections,” said NRCC Chairman Greg Walden. “I am certain that Dan Debicella will be a strong contender this election cycle.”

This is rematch between Himes and Debicella, who lost to the Democrat in 2010 by fewer than 15,000 votes.

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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