Democratic congressional candidate Anthony Brindisi on Wednesday has been named to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Red to Blue program, a key step in his bid to flip a Republican-held central New York House seat.

“A lifelong Utica native, Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi wakes up every single day with one mission—to fight for the middle-class families of central New York,” said DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján.

“From fighting for education funding to bringing economic development to his community, Anthony has worked with members of both parties to solve problems and get things done. His independence, energy and toughness make Anthony one of the strongest challengers in the country.”

Brindisi is running for the district held by first-term Rep. Claudia Tenney, who is considered a top target for Democrats in 2018. The district includes the Mohawk Valley and parts of the Southern Tier regions.

The Red to Blue program is a competitive program for candidates identified as top-tier hopefuls, distinguishing them for their organizational and financial backing. So far, only 11 Democratic House candidates have received the designation.

Polling from Democrats has shown Brindisi with a narrow lead over Tenney.