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DCCC Adds Five More Candidates to Red to Blue Program

Two of them have said they won’t back Pelosi for Democratic leader

New Jersey Democrat Tom Malinowski, a former assistant secretary of State for democracy, human rights, and labor, is among the latest additions to the DCCC’s Red to Blue list. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
New Jersey Democrat Tom Malinowski, a former assistant secretary of State for democracy, human rights, and labor, is among the latest additions to the DCCC’s Red to Blue list. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is announcing its fifth round of Red to Blue candidates Wednesday. 

The five latest additions, obtained first by Roll Call, include two candidates running in districts that President Donald Trump carried by double digits, both of whom have said they wouldn’t support Nancy Pelosi for Democratic leader if elected. 

To earn their spot in the program, these five candidates surpassed goals for fundraising, grass-roots engagement, local support and campaign organization, the DCCC said.

The committee has now named 38 candidates to the Red to Blue program. It released its first round of Red to Blue candidates last November and is continuing to announce additional names in more frequent batches this cycle. The fourth round, released last month, included the first two black candidates.

“Incredible Democratic candidates with records of service are working hard every day to earn the trust of voters and build competitive, grassroots campaigns,” DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján said in a statement.

“With Democrats winning the debate on affordable healthcare and an economic agenda to raise wages and lower costs, we are in a great position to take back the House in November,” Luján added. Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats to win the majority. 

The five additions are:

Clarke Tucker (AR-02)

The state representative and lawyer was recruited to challenge two-term GOP Rep. French Hill in a district that Trump carried by about 11 points. Tucker has been a proponent of Arkansas’ version of Medicaid expansion and is a recent cancer survivor. He has said he won’t vote for Pelosi for leader if he’s elected. Race rating: Solid Republican

Gil Cisneros (CA-39) 

The Navy veteran and millionaire lottery winner is hoping to win the open seat being vacated by retiring GOP Rep. Ed Royce. But first, he’ll have to finish in the top two in a crowded jungle primary. Hillary Clinton carried the district by nearly 9 points in 2016. Rating: Toss-up.

Tom Malinowski (NJ-07)

The former assistant secretary of State for democracy, human rights and labor is hoping to challenge moderate GOP Rep. Leonard Lance in a district that narrowly voted for Clinton. Rating: Leans Republican

Juanita Perez Williams (NY-24) 

The 2017 Syracuse mayoral candidate only entered the race recently — just days after donating to another Democrat running for the seat — with the help of petition canvassers paid by the DCCC. Williams said she’s better equipped to defeat two-term GOP incumbent John Katko, who won re-election by 21 points in 2016 despite Clinton carrying the district by 4 points. Rating: Likely Republican

Ken Harbaugh (OH-07)

The former Navy pilot was one of the earliest Democratic challengers this cycle to say he would not support Pelosi for leader. He’s taking on four-term GOP Rep. Bob Gibbs in a district Trump carried by nearly 30 points. Rating: Solid Republican

Clarification: A previous version of this article misstated the number of total candidates on Red to Blue because of an error on a DCCC press release. Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, who’s running for the Democratic nomination for Texas’ 7th District, was erroneously included on the original press release.  

Previous Red to Blue announcementsFirst Round | Second Round | Third Round | Fourth RoundWatch: Democrats Have At Least 20 House Takeover Opportunities in These 4 States

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