GOP congressional hopeful Raul Labrador has been named to “Contender” status in the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” program, the second tier of the three-tier program. “By achieving ‘Contender’ status, Labrador has already demonstrated his ability to build a successful campaign structure and achieve vital fundraising goals,” the NRCC said this morning in a press release; you can read it here. In it, NRCC Chairman Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Tex., said, “Raul Labrador has met a series of rigorous fundraising and campaign goals that will go a long way in helping to put this seat in the Republican column.”
Asked what those goals were, NRCC spokesman Greg Blair said, “That’s something that’s just between us and the campaign. Those goals are different for every campaign … we can’t comment on internal strategy like that. I will say that he did have to reach a bar, and he accomplished that.”
Labrador has lagged badly in fundraising, with incumbent Congressman Walt Minnick reporting a million-dollar cash-on-hand edge as of the last campaign finance report, though that was early in the summer. Labrador initially said he’d decided to “opt out” of the Young Guns program, after it touted his GOP primary opponent, Vaughn Ward, and boosted him to its top rank well before the primary. Labrador changed his mind a month and a half ago.
Asked how reaching ‘Contender’ status will benefit Labrador’s campaign, Blair said, “Basically they keep us in the loop on what they’re doing and we provide guidance where we can on building their campaign infrastructure, building their media plan, building their campaign plan, helping them build a path to victory. … That’s where they’ll see the benefit now.” The designation carries no financial benefit. “Raul’s put in a lot of hard work, and we’re looking forward to working with him for the rest of the campaign,” Blair said.