DCCC Adds Variety to Its Leadership Roster

Posted January 25, 2008 at 6:28pm

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is set today to reveal an expanded leadership team, including the Members who will run the key “Red to Blue” and “Frontline” fundraising programs.

Reps. Bruce Braley (Iowa), Artur Davis (Ala.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) have been charged with running Red to Blue, the DCCC’s fundraising and campaign infrastructure program that focuses on flipping Republican-held seats into the Democratic column.

“The DCCC is focused on not only preserving our gains but growing them. The aggressive leadership overseeing our Red to Blue Program allows us to stay on the offense,” DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) said in a statement provided to Roll Call.

Meanwhile, Rep. Joe Crowley (N.Y.) has been asked to use his connections to the business community via his position as chairman of the DCCC Business Council to help raise money for Democratic candidates running in open seats.

Rep. Dennis Cardoza (Calif.) has been appointed co-chairman of the DCCC’s Frontline program, which raises money for incumbent House Democrats deemed politically vulnerable by the DCCC. The committee hopes Cardoza’s membership in the Blue Dog Coalition of conservative House Democrats will aid the many Democratic incumbents running for re-election in Republican-leaning districts.

“Congressman Cardoza is a great addition to our outstanding Frontline leadership team,” Van Hollen said. “He … will be able to bring [the Blue Dogs’] expertise on fiscal issues and rural districts to our campaigns across the country. No one knows better than Congressman Cardoza how to win in tough districts.”

The DCCC’s fundraising efforts have been wildly successful this cycle, at least compared to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Although the 2007 year-end Federal Election Commission reports are due Thursday and could show improvement for the NRCC, the Republican committee had more than $28 million less in cash on hand than the DCCC as of Nov. 30. However, NRCC spokesman Ken Spain cautioned that the DCCC shouldn’t assume that its bulkier war chest means voters are satisfied with the Democratic Congress.

“Democrats might think that they can buy themselves an election in November, but every poll has shown that voters still haven’t bought into their agenda of higher taxes and runaway spending,” Spain said.

The choices the DCCC made in filling out its leadership team shows an effort to be strategic, combined with an “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.

Braley’s appointment to co-chair Red to Blue was born out of his successful campaign in the previous cycle, when as a member of the program he won a Democratic-leaning open seat that had been held by a Republican for 16 years. The DCCC also says Braley’s understanding of the Midwest, which could be a battleground in November, will be helpful.

Wasserman Schultz co-chaired the previous cycle’s successful Red to Blue program with Van Hollen, making her a natural fit for the task this time around.

Despite her new responsibilities, the Florida Democrat is remaining as co-chairwoman of the Frontline program, which the DCCC claims has been so successful that the committee has been able to shift its focus from protecting vulnerable incumbents to winning GOP-held seats.

Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), appointed earlier this cycle to help lead Frontline, will remain as the third co-chairman of that program. Emanuel served as DCCC chairman during the 2006 cycle.

Davis, appointed this cycle to co-chair Red to Blue with Braley and Wasserman Schultz, will continue in his position as chairman of the DCCC’s recruiting committee.