House Dems jockey to lead the campaign arm, with control still in doubt

Rep. Tony Cardenas on Friday announced he’s seeking to lead House Democrats’ campaign arm for the 2024 cycle, pledging to grow the caucus’ ranks after its smaller-than-expected midterm losses.

California Democrat Cardenas is highlighting his leadership of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ political arm, BOLD PAC. This has funneled millions into the last few cycles for competitive races — and not just Hispanic candidates. Cardenas, who is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ political arm, BOLD PAC has been praised by other Democrats for his efforts to make it a fundraising powerhouse thanks to his donor network.

Although the House is not yet in control, it continues to lean toward a narrow Republican majority. Cardenas, if elected, would have a better environment in 2024 than Democrats originally expected. However, it will still be challenging as they face negative economic trends and a unpredictable presidential race that could include Donald Trump. The pitch by the Californian is centered on improving Democrats’ outreach and reaching Latino voters amid growing concerns within the party about the fastest growing U.S. voter bloc’s shift towards the GOP.

“If you elect to me as the next Chair [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee], then I promise to fight with you to win 2024 so we can deliver for working families here in the United States, and add to our great progress,” he wrote in a letter to other Democratic legislators that was sent Friday morning. A copy was obtained by POLITICO.

Cardenas promises to establish a DCCC member services operation, hire more diverse staff, and increase party investment in new outreach strategies. After losing in a close race against Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D.N.Y.), Cardenas is now the second candidate for the position.

Rep. Mark Takano (D.Calif.), a Cardenas ally, praised him for being a “visionary leader” of the BOLD PAC that could bring credibility to Hispanic voters and Latino voters as well as build bridges to other segments of caucus.

“The DCCC job is difficult and you can’t make everyone happy. However, I believe Tony will eventually have the respect of the members of the caucus as they will have faith that decisions are made for strategic reasons that are in their interest — getting to 218,” Takano stated.

The DCCC chair will likely be chosen by Democrats after they have elected their top leaders at month’s end. However, the process could change. According to some people familiar with the discussions, some Democrats, including Reps. Mark Pocan and Suzan DelBene (D.Wash.), are pushing for leadership to appoint DCCC chair rather than having it go to a nationwide election.

The Democrats’ caucus committee, chaired and headed by Rep. Grace Meng (D.N.Y.), will decide if any procedural changes should be recommended to the rest. They could then consider the matter later in the month.

Rep. Ami Bera (D.Calif.), currently in leadership in the pro-business New Democrat Coalition is expected to also jump in the race. However, he has not yet made public his plans.

Sarah Ferris contributed this report.

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