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DelBene tapped to run House Democrats’ campaign arm

New rule she sponsored gave Rep. Hakeem Jeffries bigger role in picking leader

Rep. Suzan DelBene was tapped by incoming House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to run the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Rep. Suzan DelBene was tapped by incoming House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to run the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Incoming House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries tapped Washington Rep. Suzan DelBene on Tuesday to lead the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2024 cycle.

“I’m ready to get to work with our new leadership team and all corners of our Caucus to win back the House Majority,” DelBene said in a statement. “Democrats are dedicated to showing Americans that governance can work, advancing the policies that will make a difference to families, workers and communities, and pushing back against MAGA Republican extremism and chaos.”

If confirmed, DelBene will take charge of a campaign arm seeking to win back control of the House in two years after Democrats had a better-than-expected midterm election last month, leaving Republicans with a slim majority. 

The caucus changed its internal rules this year to give Jeffries a bigger role in selecting who leads the campaign arm. Instead of an election in the full caucus, the new process lets the party’s leader nominate someone who is confirmed by the caucus. DelBene could still face a challenger, but other candidates would need to be nominated by at least five other members. 

DelBene was one of the three House Democrats to sponsor the rule change, along with Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan and Illinois Rep. Brad Schneider

California Reps. Ami Bera and Tony Cárdenas were both seeking the position. By picking DelBene, Jeffries is elevating another woman to the leadership table. 

“Suzan is a battle-tested, former Frontline member who brings to the DCCC role a sharp political instinct, proven fundraising ability as well as serious management and operational experience inside and outside government,” Jeffries said in a statement. 

Since she first won her seat in 2012, DelBene has raised $19.6 million, including $2.5 million in the most recent election cycle, according to OpenSecrets.org.  

Jeffries said one example of DelBene’s “keen political instincts” was her support for Rep.-elect Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, a Democrat who flipped a seat currently held by Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who lost a Republican primary to a more conservative candidate.

“As DCCC Chair, Suzan is ready to hit the ground running and build upon our unprecedented success this cycle,” he added. 

DelBene first ran for Congress in 2010, losing to former Rep. Dave Reichert. She ran again in 2012, winning a special election and full term in Washington’s 1st District as a Red-to-Blue candidate. She won her election last month by 27 points in the 1st District in Seattle’s northern suburbs. 

Many House Democrats wanted a DCCC chair who wouldn’t face their own competitive race after New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney lost his seat this year while leading the operation, and former DCCC Chair Rep. Cheri Bustos faced a tight race for her Illinois seat in 2020. 

She has chaired the New Democrat Coalition, a group of pro-business Democrats that is one of the largest groups within the caucus. She co-chaired the DCCC Frontline program for vulnerable incumbents in 2020.

Evergreen PAC, her leadership PAC, raised $418,700 and gave $355,000 to other committees as of Nov. 28, in addition to DCCC dues. 

Before she was elected to Congress, DelBene worked as a business executive, including for Microsoft and as CEO of a software company. 

A member of the Ways and Means Committee, DelBene played a role in drafting some of the early COVID-19 relief packages. She has also focused on data privacy protections.

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