Incoming House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (DN.Y.) on Tuesday nominated Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) to chair the campaign arm of House Democrats, bypassing the two Californians who were actively seeking the position
“She is the right leader, with the right experience and the right demeanor to face this crucial moment,” said Jeffries, who will take over from outgoing House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) next month. .
His decision is a blow to the representatives. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) and Tony Cárdenas (D-Pacoima), both of whom had expressed interest in the job. They had declared their candidacy for the position when it was still among the party leadership positions decided by a caucus-wide election.
But last month, Democrats decided to give Jeffries the authority to select a DCCC head, subject to confirmation by the full caucus.
Cárdenas was the first to jump into the DCCC race, building on his record-breaking fundraising for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ campaign arm, BOLD PAC, in November. 11 letter to colleagues.
Bera declared his candidacy days later, citing his experience within the DCCC as a front-line chair responsible for protecting vulnerable incumbents in battleground districts.
His career took an ugly turn, especially amid an unusually civil House Democratic leadership election this year.
Cárdenas’ critics recirculated reports of a 2019 lawsuit alleging that he molested a 16-year-old girl years earlier.
Cárdenas had denied the allegations and the woman later dropped the lawsuit.
Bera’s candidacy also came with some baggage, as his opponents resurfaced reports that his father had been convicted in 2016 after prosecutors traced “at least $260,000 in illegal contributions funneled through donors but paid in secret by the big Bera through various bank accounts used to further cover his tracks..,” The Times reported.
DelBene’s appointment adds another woman to the House Democratic leadership team, which includes incoming Minority Leader Katherine Clark (D-Mass.).
He won a special election in 2012 to succeed the former deputy. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), who became governor.
“Democrats are dedicated to showing Americans that governance can work, advancing policies that will make a difference for families, workers and communities, and pushing back against MAGA Republican extremism and mayhem” , DelBene said in a statement Tuesday.