Darrell Issa's challenger is getting financial and strategic support from House Democrats hoping for an upset

The House Democrats' campaign arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Thursday it will provide support for Doug Applegate's effort to unseat Rep. Darrell Issa.

Issa (R-Vista) finished with a surprisingly low 50.8% of the vote in the 49th District's primary. Applegate, a retired Marine colonel, earned 45.5% of the vote.

The DCCC has added Applegate to their Red to Blue Program, which means the first-time candidate will get financial and strategic help from the national party. It also alerts donors to new candidates that could use their help.

"Col. Applegate has proven his deep commitment to helping middle-class families get ahead and keeping Americans safe," DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján said in a statement. “As a part of the Red to Blue Program, Col. Applegate will continue to build on his formidable grassroots organization to make sure families in California’s 49th Congressional District get the leadership they deserve.”

The district encompasses parts of Orange and San Diego counties, including Camp Pendleton, San Clemente, Oceanside and Vista.

The race is among those being most closely watched in California ahead of November, but even with the national party's support, Applegate faces an uphill climb to unseat an eight-term incumbent who is also the wealthiest member of Congress.

The nonpartisan analysts at Cook Political Report consider the seat likely to stay in Republican hands.