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National Republican training program promotes two Va. candidates

The National Republican Congressional Committee has promoted two Virginians to the top tier of its candidate training program, sending a signal that it views their campaigns as well-managed and worthy of additional support.

The NRCC added state House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith, who is running against Rep. Rick Boucher (D) in the 9th district, and auto dealer Scott Rigell, who is challenging Rep. Glenn Nye (D) in the 2nd district, to its "Young Guns" program, which gives GOP campaigns benchmarks to hit for fundraising, grassroots organizing, Web communication strategy and other categories. Campaigns that hit those marks move up through an NRCC ranking system, progressing from "On the Radar," to "Contenders" to "Young Guns."

Labels aside, the promotion of Griffith and Rigell has the practical effect of letting Republican activists and donors know that national GOP leaders believe the two candidates are running professional operations.

"It is not an endorsement but it means that we feel these people are furthest along in putting together a winning campaign," said NRCC spokesman Andy Sere.

The national committee rarely weighs in on competitive primaries -- not publicly, anyway -- so in some cases multiple candidates running for the same seat are participating in the NRCC's training program. While Rigell is now a "Young Gun" in the contest against Nye, for example, businessman Bert Mizusawa has been granted "On the Radar" status in the same race. In the 11th district contest to unseat Rep, Gerald Connolly (D), businessman Keith Fimian is an NRCC "Contender" while Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity is "On the Radar."

By enrolling them in training programs early, the NRCC hopes to makes its candidates better prepared to face Democrats in the general election. The Virginia primary is June 8.

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By Ben Pershing  |  May 6, 2010; 10:23 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Glenn Nye , Keith Fimian , Morgan Griffith , Pat Herrity , Scott Rigell  | Tags: Glenn Nye, Keith Fimian, National Republican Congressional Committee, Scott Rigell, Virginia  
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