NRCC Designates Three Florida Republicans as ‘Contenders’ to Win Seats in November

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) announced its latest round of “Contender” candidates they hope can flip U.S. House seats held by Democrats and included three candidates from the Sunshine State.

U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said on Wednesday that more than 30 candidates across the nation made the “Contender” tier of its “Young Guns” program.

“The Young Guns program requires candidates to work towards specific goals and meet benchmarks throughout the election cycle to ensure their campaigns remain competitive, well-funded and communicative within their districts,” the NRCC noted.

“These hardworking candidates have proven their ability to run strong, competitive campaign operations,” said McCarthy. “We’re going to ensure these contenders are victorious in November by forcing their Democratic opponents to own their party’s radical socialist agenda.”

The NRCC included three candidates from Florida: attorney Amanda Makki who is running in the primary to challenge U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla.; state Rep. Dane Eagle, R-Cape Coral, who is running to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla.; and journalist Maria Salazar who is hoping for a rematch against U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla.

At the end of last month, the NRCC added two candidates to its “On the Radar” tier. While he jumped in against U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., at the end of last month, Miami Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez was quickly added to the program. Also joining it is Dr. Leo Valentin, a physician running in the crowded primary to take on U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla.

Other candidates designated “On the Radar” include businesswoman Irina Vilarino who is also looking to topple Mucarsel-Powell. The NRCC had included educator, veteran and businessman George Buck, who is hoping for a rematch with Crist, in the “On the Radar” program but yanked recognition from him after he called for hanging U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) noted on Tuesday that the NRCC’s list of “Contender” candidates on its website had no names on it.

“The NRCC is struggling to find candidates running “mature and competitive” campaign operations. Their woes aren’t surprising given that the DCCC has outraised them by $39.5 million this cycle and Frontline members raised $93 million in 2019 with 13 Frontliners having more than $2 million cash on hand entering 2020,” the DCCC noted.


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