DNC chair questions House campaign arm’s attack on progressive candidate
Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez is questioning a move by the party’s House campaign arm to publish opposition research on a progressive candidate in Texas ahead of a primary contest there.
“I wouldn’t have done it. And I wouldn’t have done it because I think we’re at our best as Democrats when we talk about the issues,” Perez told C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” during an interview Friday.
“I would have done it differently,” he continued. “I think the DCCC has the ability to endorse in primaries, and they do that from time to time. But again, I would have done it differently.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which backs Democratic House candidates, came under fire from progressives late last month after the group posted a memo online containing opposition research about Laura Moser, a progressive Democrat running in Texas’ competitive 7th Congressional District.
The opposition research blasts Moser as a “Washington insider, who begrudgingly moved to Houston to run for Congress.” It also points out that she claimed Washington, D.C., as her primary residence in January “in order to get a tax break.”
The episode highlighted the divide between the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and its establishment wing.
The party has worked since the 2016 presidential election to close that divide, after leaked emails revealed that top DNC officials sought to help Hillary Clinton win the party’s presidential nomination over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who gained a following among the party’s progressives.
Our Revolution, a progressive group allied with Sanders, endorsed Moser this week ahead of the March 6 primary.
The DCCC has framed Moser as an unelectable candidate in a critical race, pointing to concerns about her residency and accusations that her husband is improperly benefitting financially from her campaign. The Sanders-affiliated group called the DCCC’s attacks “ridiculous.”
Moser is one of seven Democrats competing in Tuesday’s primary to try to take Rep. John Culberson’s (R) Houston-area seat. Clinton won the district narrowly in 2016, while the nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race as a toss-up.