Republican candidate for Congress Ilario Pantano has hit a crucial target and the National Republican Congressional Committee has named him a "Contender" in the Republican "Young Guns" program.
"Young Guns" is not, as far as Dome can tell, a reference to the Billy the Kid films (which is why we resisted using Bon Jovi lyrics in the headline). It's a program started in the 2008 election cycle by Republican U.S. Reps. Eric Cantor of Virgina, Kevin McCarthy of California and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. The idea is to recruit young, conservative leaders.
Pantano, a Marine veteran and author, is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre of Lumberton. The "Contender" label means he has hit key fundraising targets and campaign goals set for him by the program.
He has another set of goals and targets to hit before he can be declared a "Young Gun."
What does all this mean? Well for Pantano, it's a way to tell voters and potential contributors that the national party has an eye on him.