(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The National Republican Congressional Committee on Thursday elevated seven more candidates to "Contender" status, the second tier of its "Young Guns" program designed to assist top House challengers and open seat hopefuls.

The NRCC added state Sen. Lee Zeldin (R), who is challenging Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.); Miami Dade School Board Member Carlos Curbelo (R), who is running against Rep. Joe Garcia (D-Fla.); attorney Ryan Costello (R), who is running for the seat of retiring Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.); state Sen. Torrey Westrom (R), who is challenging Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.); former Microsoft engineer Pedro Celis (R), who is running against Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.); state Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, who is running against Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.); and former state senator Dan Debicella (R), who is challenging Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn).

The GOP's House majority is not in serious jeopardy of slipping away in November. Democrats would have to pick up 17 seats to win the majority, a goal that strategists in both parties agree is all but impossible.

Last month, the NRCC bestowed "Contender" status on 17 candidates, including several who ran in 2012 and are back for another try.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.