The centrist Democratic Blue Dog Coalition's political arm got behind a a trio of U.S. House candidates trying to win seats currently held by Republicans on Tuesday, marking its first set of endorsements ahead of this year's midterm elections.

The Blue Dog PAC endorsed former state representative Jennifer Garrison (D) against Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio); attorney Gwen Graham (D) against Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.); and former FEMA director James Lee Witt, who is running for the seat being vacated by Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

"The Blue Dogs have always represented the commonsense middle, and we will continue to be a bridge between the two parties in an otherwise dysfunctional Congress," said Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.), the group's co-chair for administration. Barrow could face a tough reelection bid in his own district.

The Blue Dogs have been shedding members at a rapid pace in recent years as moderate Democrats have become a rare breed in the House. The group recently added four new members as it saw its ranks deplete to a roster of just 15, down from more than 50 four years ago.

The group said it intends to endorse more candidates as the 2014 cycle progresses.