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DCCC Adds Two Black Candidates to Red to Blue

Women now make up the majority of 33 candidates in program

Texas Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones made the DCCC’s Red to Blue list. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Texas Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones made the DCCC’s Red to Blue list. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is releasing its fourth round of Red to Blue candidates Thursday. 

The nine latest additions include two African-Americans. The DCCC had been criticized for not including any black candidates on the list so far this cycle.

“For us, it doesn’t make any sense,” Quentin James,  the co-founder of Collective PAC, which backs black candidates, told BuzzFeed last month about the lack of African-Americans on the Red to Blue list. 

“We are excited our efforts to ensure the DCCC uplifts, highlights and prioritizes black candidates are achieving results,” James said in a statement Thursday.

A majority of the 33 candidates now on Red to Blue are women.

To earn their spot in the program, the candidates surpassed goals for fundraising, grass-roots engagement, local support and campaign organization, the DCCC said. The committee released its first round of Red to Blue candidates last November and is continuing to announce additional rounds in more frequent batches this cycle.

Watch: Fundraising Reports Say a Lot About a Campaign

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Candidates in Red to Blue benefit from organizational and fundraising help from the DCCC.

“The candidates in this new round of Red to Blue are running grassroots campaigns bolstered by local endorsements and key indicators of support in their communities,” DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján said in a statement.

“We’re also incredibly proud of the diversity represented in this latest list — in terms of race, gender, geography and backgrounds — and I am confident these individuals will play a critical role in helping take back the House,” he added.

The latest additions include two women who won their primaries in Illinois on Tuesday, as well as two Texas candidates who finished in the top two in the state’s primaries two weeks ago. Here are the latest nine:

TJ Cox (CA-21)

The Fresno businessman had been challenging California Republican Jeff Denham in the 10th District but recently moved back to the 21st District to take on GOP Rep. David Valadao. Race Rating: Likely Republican.

Nancy Soderberg (FL-06)

The former United Nations ambassador entered the 6th District race in July, and since then it’s become an open-seat race with Republican incumbent Ron DeSantis’ announcement that he’s running for governor. Rating: Solid Republican.

Betsy Dirksen Londrigan (IL-13)

The former fundraiser for Illinois Sen. Richard J. Durbin won her primary Tuesday and will now take on GOP Rep. Rodney Davis in this central Illinois district. Rating: Likely Republican.

Lauren Underwood (IL-14)

The nurse and former Obama administration official also won her primary Tuesday, setting up a general election race against GOP Rep. Randy Hultgren in an expensive exurban Chicago district. Rating: Solid Republican.

Gretchen Driskell (MI-07)

This is Driskell’s second campaign for the 7th District. She lost to GOP Rep. Tim Walberg by 15 points in 2016. Rating: Solid Republican.

Aftab Pureval (OH-01)

Elected in 2016 as the Hamilton County clerk of courts, Pureval is trying to take on GOP Rep. Steve Chabot. Rating: Solid Republican.

Gina Ortiz Jones (TX-23)

The former Air Force intelligence officer finished first in her primary earlier this month, but failed to secure more than 50 percent of the vote, so she still has a runoff before likely facing GOP Rep. Will Hurd. Rating: Toss-up.

Colin Allred (TX-32)

A onetime NFL linebacker who also worked in the Obama administration, Allred finished first in the primary. But he, too, has a runoff before the general election against GOP Rep. Pete Sessions. Rating: Likely Republican.

Randy Bryce (WI-01)

The union ironworker known for his “Iron Stache” social media presence has impressed Democrats with his fundraising. But he’s got a tall order trying to take out Speaker Paul D. Ryan. Rating: Solid Republican.

Previous Red to Blue announcements: First Round | Second Round | Third Round