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Morgan Philpot, the Republican nominee for Utah's 2nd Congressional District, may be running an uphill battle to topple incumbent Democrat Rep. Jim Matheson, but the GOP's House campaign arm has placed Philpot in its "On the Radar" category.

The National Republican Congressional Committee said Monday that Philpot had advanced to that level of its "Young Guns" program, aimed at Republicans in Congress helping hopefuls join their ranks.

"Morgan Philpot 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," said NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas. "Morgan is part of a strong pool of candidates who are frustrated with the Democrat majority's big-government ways and aren't willing to stand by any longer."

The NRCC announcement comes on the heels of conservative strategist Dick Morris's pronouncement that Philpot is only three points behind Matheson – a statement that sort of flies in the face of what we know so far in the race.

— Thomas