The House GOP campaign arm announced on Tuesday that a Republican candidate from Arizona who praised the Proud Boys in a September speech has moved to the next level of his campaign support process . Walt Blackman, an Arizona state congressional candidate in Arizona's 1st Congressional District, said the far-right group was attending a of his gatherings was one of the proudest moments of his life. I believe these are theproud boys out there, Blackman a declared at the end of September . Let me tell you something about the Proud Boys. The Proud Boys came to one of my events and it was one of the proudest moments of my life. People: the example on the American way of being. Blackman made pro-Proud Boys comments at a rally in Phoenix last month held by Look Ahead America , who organized a similar rally in Washington, DC, in support of defendants indicted in the January 6 insurgency. Notably, a few dozen people with ties to the Proud Boys were indicted in the 6 January against the United States Capitol, according to CNN analysis of judiciai documentsres. In a press and on social media Tuesday , announced Blackman that the Republican National Congressional Committee had included him in its Young Guns program, personally thanking Minority Parliamentary Leader Kevin McCarthy. Blackman has been added to Young Guns website as an on the radar candidate - the second level of the Young Guns program - along with a series of other candidates, including another candidate in the same district. Candidates running in competitive seats must meet certain campaign organization and fundraising requirements to be eligible for the program and to move up to the next level. Read More I would like to thank Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy for avoir recognized what so many popular leaders in Arizona 's 1st Congressional District have already seen in our campaign, Blackman said in his statement. In a statement to CNN Wednesday, Blackman condemned the Proud Boys. I am not a career politician. Three years ago, I was the first black American elected to the Arizona State Legislature. I am new to this area and at the time of the rally I was unaware of the fullness and extent of the conduct of the Proud Boys, which I unequivocally condemn, he said. The Young Guns Program , run by the NRCC and led by McCarthy, identifies candidates across the country who embody the principles of the House Republican Conference and show promise of a successful campaign, according to its website. surveillance is not an endorsement or commitment of financial support on the part of the NRCC, which does not play in open primaries, but it isan indication that the campaign committee believes the candidate may become a competitor in the race. CNN contacted the NRCC and McCarthy's office but did not receive a response. Blackman, a prime candidate for Congress, was elected Arizona State Representative in 2018. Prior to that, he founded a workplace training company and served in the United States Army for more than two decades, during which he obtained a bronze star for the fighting in Iraq. , according to his website and social networks . In 2020, Blackman supported the pernicious Stop the Steal movement and the lie that the former presidentent Donald Trump won the presidential election nationwide and in Arizona's 1st District, a pivotal seat currently represented by Democratic Representative Tom. O 'Halleran, is considered competitive by the NRCC and the Congressional Democratic Campaign Committee . CNN's Marshall Cohen and Hannah Rabinowitz contributed to this story.