DCCC taps members for large leadership team

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced a slate of nearly two dozen members who will join its leadership ranks as it looks to preserve a narrow House majority after redistricting.

The expanded roster is a part of DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney’s pledge to ensuring diversity is reflected in the upper echelons of the committee, something lawmakers complained that his predecessor failed to achieve in the early days of the past cycle.

Some notable additions: Rep. Marc Veasey of Texas — whom Maloney tapped as a vice chair last year — will also lead recruitment efforts this cycle, with the help of Reps. Sara Jacobs of California, Joe Neguse of Colorado and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. Incumbent-protection efforts will be helmed by Rep. Ami Bera of California with assistance from Reps. Jennifer Wexton of Virginia and Steven Horsford of Nevada. All three used to represent swing areas that have become safer in recent years.

In interviews, members said that their early efforts have focused on helping swing-seat incumbents prepare for the midterms by studying what went wrong in 2020 and identifying and convincing strong candidates to run in 2022, even while the district lines themselves are months away from being finalized.

“It’s harder in a redistricting year, but generally you’re able to recruit,” Wasserman Schultz said. “Candidates that declare know there’s a caveat that, ‘Well, if the district doesn’t look anything like a seat that is viable for me, then I may not run.’ Or if they get lumped in with an incumbent.”

But she said she’s been encouraged by the level of interest so far: “We’ll have primaries,” she predicted, pointing to the crowded field in the open seat currently held by Rep. Charlie Crist, a Florida Democrat who is running for governor.

Recruiters note that redistricting will freeze fields for both parties. And Democrats hinted that some familiar names might surface in 2022 — candidates who will be ready to launch quickly when maps materialize.

“Oh I think you’ll definitely see some former incumbents. You’ll see people who came close last time,” Veasey said in an interview. “I think you’ll see some surprises — movie stars.”

Redistricting will also shake up the committee’s Frontline program for endangered incumbents. The DCCC named 32 members to it last spring, but that number could grow and contract. Depending on the new lines, battleground members could find themselves in bluer districts, and safe-seat members could be suddenly in swing territory.

Bera said in an interview that he’s been encouraging Frontline members to study the results of the various analyses of the 2020 election, completed by the DCCC and outside groups. “Certainly we’re looking at what polling kind of missed, because I think everyone ought to be doing that. It wasn’t just the Democratic Party,” he said.

His other advice: Be prepared for a potential drop-off in turnout for a midterm year and to combat GOP attacks on socialism.

”Let the data dictate what you learned, and then you take those lessons and feed them back into how we move forward,” he said. “I think that’s what we’re going through. I would argue the Republicans are probably not going through that same analysis, and they’re tying themselves to Trump.”

Also joining the leadership team: Reps. Angie Craig of Minnesota, Scott Peters of California and David Trone of Maryland, who will be regional vice chairs. Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia will return as national finance chair, and Rep. Adam Schiff of California will lead finance efforts in the battleground seats, putting to use the large online fundraising apparatus he amassed during the first impeachment trial.

The DCCC has not named a redistricting chair, as its GOP counterpart has. But the regional vice chairs will be monitoring new maps, and the committee has a designated redistricting team on staff, led by Gisel Aceves. A former executive director of BOLD PAC, the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Aceves moved to the DCCC this cycle.

As previously announced, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland will lead organizing for the committee, and Rep. Linda Sánchez of California will oversee Latino engagement. And Reps. Donald Norcross of New Jersey and Bobby Scott of Virginia will serve as committee liaisons to the labor community.

Meanwhile, Rep. Barbara Lee of California is bringing some of her “Representation Matters” mentorship program for women of color under the DCCC umbrella. And Reps. Sharice Davids of Kansas, Dan Kildee of Michigan, Gwen Moore of Wisconsin and Raul Ruiz of California will spearhead the committee’s work with Native American tribes and Indian Country.

“With their diverse array of backgrounds and experiences, we are on an even stronger footing to recruit candidates, build powerful campaigns, and deliver for the American people,” Maloney of New York said in a release announcing the team.

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