Incoming House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (DN.Y.) on Tuesday named Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) chair of the House Democrats’ campaign arm, bypassing the two Californians actively seeking the post.
“She’s the right leader, with the right experience and the right attitude to face this critical moment,” said Jeffries, who will take charge next month from outgoing House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francis).
His decision is a blow to Representatives Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) and Tony Cárdenas (D-Pacoima), who had both expressed interest in the job. They had run for the position when it was still one of the party’s leadership positions, decided by an election across the caucus.
But last month, Democrats instead decided to give Jeffries the power to select a DCCC head, subject to confirmation by the full caucus.
Cárdenas was the first to enter the DCCC race, citing his record-breaking fundraising effort with the campaign arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, BOLD PAC, in a Nov. 11 letter to colleagues.
Bera announced his candidacy days later, highlighting his experience within the DCCC as the first-line chairman, responsible for protecting vulnerable incumbents in battlefield districts.
Their race took an ugly turn, especially during this year’s elections for Democratic leaders in the House that were unusually civil.
Critics of Cárdenas spread reports of a 2019 lawsuit alleging that he had molested a 16-year-old girl years earlier.
Cárdenas had denied the allegations and the woman later dropped the lawsuit.
Bera’s candidacy also brought some baggage, as his opponents resurfaced. Reports that his father was convicted in 2016 after prosecutors “uncovered at least $260,000 in illegal contributions funneled through donors but secretly paid by the elder Bera through multiple bank accounts used to further cover his tracks.” ‘ reported The Times.
DelBene’s nomination adds another woman to the House Democratic leadership team, including incoming Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.).
She won a special election in 2012 to succeed former Representative Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) who became governor.
“Democrats are committed to showing Americans that governance can work, promoting policies that will make a difference to families, workers and communities, and pushing back against MAGA Republican extremism and chaos,” DelBene said in a statement Tuesday.