“If you elect me as the next Chair of the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee], I promise to fight alongside you to win in 2024 so that we can continue delivering for working families in the United States and adding to our great progress,” he wrote in a letter to other Democratic lawmakers sent Friday morning, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO.
He’s promising to create a member services operation at the DCCC, hire a more diverse staff and expand the party’s investment in new outreach strategies, among other reforms. It’s Cárdenas’ second bid for the role after losing a close race against the current DCCC chair, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who just lost his own reelection bid.
Cárdenas has secured the support of roughly 80 members of the Democratic caucus, including key members of the so-called tri-caucus of the Asian Pacific American, Black and Hispanic Caucuses, according to a person familiar with his bid.
Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), a Cárdenas ally who also co-chairs the Equality PAC, the campaign arm of the LGBTQ caucus, praised him as a “visionary” leader of the BOLD PAC who could not only bring credibility with Hispanic and Latino voters, but also build “bridges to other segments of the caucus, other important constituencies of the caucus.
“The DCCC is a thankless job — you’re not going to make everybody happy. But I think Tony will ultimately have the respect of members of the caucus because they’re going to have trust that decisions are being made for strategic reasons that are in the interest of the caucus — of getting to 218,” Takano said.
Democrats are likely to pick the DCCC chair after choosing their top leaders at the end of the month, though the process could change. Some Democrats, led by Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), are formally pushing to have leadership appoint the DCCC chair, rather than putting it to a caucuswide election, according to several people familiar with the deliberations.
The Democrats’ committee on caucus procedure, which is chaired by Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y), will decide whether to recommend any procedural changes to the rest of the caucus, which could then take up the matter later this month.
Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.), who currently holds a leadership position in the pro-business New Democrat Coalition, is also expected to jump in the race, though he has not yet announced his plans.
Although Democrats are still waiting for full results from the midterm elections and any signals from their top leaders about their future plans, lawmakers further down the chain of command are starting to make maneuvers. Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) announced a bid to chair the Democratic Caucus on Thursday, and Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) have launched campaigns to be the vice chair of the caucus.
Sarah Ferris contributed to this report.