The Capitol Hill newspaper said a higher number of the cadre of ambitious GOP conservatives are locked into tough battles with their Democratic opponents, which could make it difficult to achieve the kind of success the new conservative wave enjoyed in the 2010 elections.
Of the 42 candidates who are part of the Young Gun program, 13 are engaged in races The Hill considered to be leaning toward or likely to go to the Democrats.
Another 17 races were rated as tossups by The Hill and only 10 were considered likely Republican wins.
In 2010, two-thirds of nearly 90 candidates labeled Young Guns by the GOP leadership wound up in the House of Representatives, The Hill said.
Republican House Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Young Guns was still a valuable tool for fielding the strongest candidates, especially in major states that tend to vote Democratic.
One of McCarthy's aides added, "These are races that probably would be less competitive if we didn't have candidates that went through this process that made them stronger contenders."
The program not only helps with campaigning and fundraising for often inexperienced GOP candidates, but it provides mentoring, guidance and name recognition for those who make it to the House.
"The designation obviously helps with fundraising," said Andrea Bozek, spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "It signals to people in the fundraising community that these folks are top-tier candidates who have put together the strategy needed to win."