NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, December 20th, 2022

House Democrats choose the PNW’s own Suzan DelBene as the next DCCC chair

Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Suzan Del­Bene will be the next chair of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­gres­sion­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee (DCCC), incom­ing cau­cus Leader Hakeem Jef­fries of New York has decided.

The DCCC, the arm of the House Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus respon­si­ble for can­di­date recruit­ment, can­di­date sup­port, and elec­tion­eer­ing oper­a­tions against Repub­li­can can­di­dates, will be focused on try­ing to reclaim a major­i­ty in 2024 after Repub­li­cans nar­row­ly flipped con­trol of the cham­ber in the midterms.

An inde­fen­si­bly over­hyped “red wave” failed to mate­ri­al­ize, but Democ­rats could­n’t defend vul­ner­a­ble incum­bents like Tom O’Haller­an of Ari­zona, Cindy Axne of Iowa, and Sean Patrick Mal­oney of New York, the lat­ter being the most recent DCCC chair, who weath­ered a lot of crit­i­cism con­cern­ing strat­e­gy and tactics.

Del­Bene, first elect­ed to the House ten years ago to suc­ceed Jay Inslee (now the Gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton State), rep­re­sents NPI’s home con­gres­sion­al dis­trict, Wash­ing­ton’s 1st, which was recent­ly redrawn by the 2021 Wash­ing­ton State Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion to be a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic district.

Before that, it had been drawn to be a swing dis­trict, but Del­Bene had made it look like a blue one with a series of com­mand­ing elec­toral per­for­mances, includ­ing in 2014, which was a dread­ful cycle for Democ­rats. (That year, they lost con­trol of the Sen­ate to Mitch McConnell and failed to retake the House.)

Del­Bene, who has a rep­u­ta­tion as prag­mat­ic and effec­tive law­mak­er and strate­gist, will now assume the impor­tant, weighty respon­si­bil­i­ty of craft­ing and imple­ment­ing a strat­e­gy for reclaim­ing the House major­i­ty in 2024.

Jef­fries could­n’t have picked any­one bet­ter for the role if you ask me.

Our team has worked with Del­Bene for years; she reg­u­lar­ly speaks at NPI’s events and sup­ports our research and advo­ca­cy. A deter­mined advo­cate for poli­cies our coun­try needs, like the Child Tax Cred­it, she has served on the Ways & Means Com­mit­tee since before Democ­rats won their last major­i­ty in 2018.

Del­Bene is thought­ful, approach­able, exer­cis­es good judg­ment, and has a track record of get­ting results. If any­one can build a bet­ter DCCC, it’s Suzan.

Hope­ful­ly, she’ll act quick­ly to put an end to the absolute­ly nau­se­at­ing doom and gloom emails that the DCCC reg­u­lar­ly sends out to its sup­port­er list, which have need­less­ly alien­at­ed donors and hurt the DCC­C’s reputation.

Her work with Rep­re­sen­ta­tive-elect Marie Glue­senkamp Perez of south­west Wash­ing­ton — who flipped a Repub­li­can seat blue right here in the Pacif­ic North­west — helped con­vince Jef­fries that she should be the next DCCC chair.

Del­Bene believed in Glue­senkamp Perez, con­sid­ered the dis­trict to be flip­pable, and worked to secure resources for her can­di­da­cy, as you can see from the pho­to below tak­en back in Octo­ber at a house par­ty for Glue­senkamp Perez.

Suzan DelBene and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez at a house party

Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Suzan Del­Bene (right) speaks at a house par­ty in sup­port of Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Marie Glue­senkamp Perez (left, tak­ing office on Jan­u­ary 3rd, 2023) pri­or to the Novem­ber midterms (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Oth­ers under con­sid­er­a­tion includ­ed Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Ami Bera and Tony Cár­de­nas. The pick was Jef­fries’ to make after the cau­cus vot­ed to make the job an appoint­ed rather than elect­ed one. His deci­sion was announced today.

“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,” said Jeffries.

“In the last decade, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Del­Bene won a tough seat as a Red-to-Blue can­di­date, held a tough seat as a Front­line can­di­date and then put that tough seat out of reach. Suzan has also recent­ly served in key DCCC lead­er­ship roles, includ­ing as Finance Co-Chair in 2018 when we suc­cess­ful­ly reclaimed the House Major­i­ty and Front­line Co-Chair in 2020 when we suc­cess­ful­ly defend­ed it.”

Jef­fries’ state­ment went on to explic­it­ly cite Del­Bene’s work to flip WA-03.

“DelBene’s keen polit­i­cal instincts were on full dis­play this cycle when Suzan was one of the first and only Mem­bers to flag that Democ­rats could win in Washington’s Third Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict. She then went to work and helped elect incom­ing Con­gress­woman Marie Glue­senkamp Perez in a rur­al and exur­ban dis­trict that long elud­ed the grasp of Democ­rats. As DCCC Chair, Suzan is ready to hit the ground run­ning and build upon our unprece­dent­ed suc­cess this cycle.”

“It’s an hon­or to be select­ed by Leader Jef­fries to serve as DCCC Chair for the 2024 cycle,” Del­Bene respond­ed. “I’m ready to get to work with our new lead­er­ship team and all cor­ners of our Cau­cus to win back the House Major­i­ty. 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.”

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Del­Bene on being cho­sen for this impor­tant respon­si­bil­i­ty. The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty is sure to ben­e­fit from her leadership.

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