Democratic Women's Caucus members split endorsements for House campaign chief

Democratic Women's Caucus members split endorsements for House campaign chief
© Greg Nash

Members of the Democratic Women’s Caucus on Tuesday split their endorsements for who should lead the party’s House campaign arm heading into what’s expected to be a challenging midterm election.

Several lawmakers backed Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), while others threw their support behind Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) to lead the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in the 2022 election cycle after Rep. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosFive centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote LIVE COVERAGE: House votes to name Speaker AOC v. Pelosi: Round 12? MORE (D-Ill.) decided not to seek reelection to the post following disappointing 2020 results.

The new endorsements for Cárdenas were revealed in a video where several Democratic congresswomen and former candidates talked about his work running Bold PAC, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) campaign arm.


Support for Cárdenas came from California Democratic Reps. Lucille Roybal-AllardLucille Roybal-AllardOvernight Health Care: CDC panel recommends who gets vaccine first | McConnell offering new relief bill | Hahn downplays White House meeting on vaccines Democrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? Democratic Women's Caucus members split endorsements for House campaign chief MORE and Judy ChuJudy May ChuWhy Biden's diversity efforts fall flat Asian lawmakers set sights on Biden's Labor secretary pick House Democrats introduce bill to address diversity at State Department MORE, chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus; Rep. Susan WildSusan WildHouse Democrats push Biden's Pentagon pick on civilian control of military Democratic Women's Caucus members split endorsements for House campaign chief Democratic Rep. Susan Wild wins reelection in Pennsylvania MORE (Pa.), a frontline member; and Rep.-elect Teresa Leger Fernández (N.M.).

"I would not be going to Congress if Bold and Tony Cárdenas hadn't been willing to endorse me in a crowded primary," said Fernández, who will take over the seat vacated by Sen.-elect Ben Ray Luján (D).

The video also included endorsements from Reps. Donna ShalalaDonna Edna ShalalaBiden's new challenge: Holding Trump accountable Trump, Florida complicate Biden approach to Cuba Florida Rep.-elect Elvira Salazar tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (Fla.) and Xochitl Torres Small (N.M.). Both lost their races on Nov. 3 and are therefore ineligible to vote for the next DCCC chair, but their voices still carry weight in the contest.

In a dear colleague letter that same day, eight other women from the caucus endorsed Maloney.

“We are supporting Sean Patrick Maloney for Chair of the DCCC because he understands the essential role women play in maintaining and expanding our majority. Sean will establish a dedicated Vice Chair for women’s recruitment and voter engagement – and ensure she has the  resources and staff required to analyze women candidates and voters and create the plan for 2022,” the lawmakers wrote.


The letter was signed by Reps. Angie Craig (Minn.), Bonnie Watson ColemanBonnie Watson ColemanBiden scolds Republicans for not wearing masks during Capitol attack The Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history Rep. Adriano Espaillat tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (N.J.), Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyDemocrats urge tech giants to change algorithms that facilitate spread of extremist content Hillicon Valley: Biden names acting chairs to lead FCC, FTC | Facebook to extend Trump ban pending review | Judge denies request for Amazon to immediately restore Parler Judge denies request for Amazon to immediately restore Parler MORE (N.Y.), Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierGlobal Gag Rule is just the tip of the iceberg: Why Repealing the Helms Amendment matters Democrats press to bar lawmakers from carrying guns in the Capitol The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress moves to avert shutdown as virus talks stall again MORE (Calif.), Suzan DelBeneSuzan Kay DelBeneWashington state neighbors underscore internal Democratic tensions Lawmakers, officials stress need to expand broadband access The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Moderna vaccine nears US approval; Congress cites 'progress' toward relief bill MORE, Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillBelfast's Troubles echo in today's Washington Democrats point fingers on whether Capitol rioters had inside help Pelosi suggests criminal charges for any lawmaker who helped with Capitol riot MORE (N.J.), Mary Gay ScanlonMary Gay ScanlonPelosi announces lawmakers will be fined ,000 if they bypass metal detectors to House floor House Judiciary Democrats ask Pence to invoke 25th Amendment to remove Trump Top Judiciary Democrat's bill would criminalize threats to election officials MORE (Pa.) and Linda Sánchez (Calif.).

The Women's Caucus endorsements come as the race between Cárdenas and Maloney appears to have tightened, with Maloney securing support from two key CHC members, Sánchez and Rep. Verónica Escobar (Texas), who had been expected to back Cárdenas.

Maloney has brought an outsider pitch to the race, vowing to reform digital campaigning and do away with antiquated polling systems, while focusing less on fundraising.

The jab at fundraising is a thinly veiled attack on Cárdenas, who has proved himself a prolific fundraiser, taking Bold PAC from a small operation protecting CHC incumbents to a nationwide organization that's contributed to more than 200 House candidates.

Cárdenas's allies, apart from touting his fundraising accomplishments, say he has a better understanding of campaigning among diverse communities, a skill that will be necessary for Democrats to protect their slim majority heading into 2022.

“Tony has been a remarkable leader and fundraiser, whose work has increased the diversity of Congress. As DCCC chair, I know he will help us reach as many voters from as many communities as possible,” said Chu.

Luján, a former Bold PAC and DCCC chair, is heading Cárdenas's whip list, which includes an assortment of members from the CHC, Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus and frontline moderates like Wild.

Cárdenas supporters have highlighted his Bold PAC experience. The previous chairman, Luján, used Bold PAC as a stepping stone to the DCCC, where he engineered the 2018 election that returned Democrats to a majority in the House.

"As chair of Bold PAC, Tony has demonstrated an outstanding ability to lead the DCCC, to maintain our majority and increase it in what is likely to be a tough midterm election," said Roybal-Allard.

There are 88 Democratic women in the 116th Congress; that number is not expected to change dramatically for the incoming class. Many members have been reluctant to publicly voice their support for either Cárdenas or Maloney, in what remains as the last significant leadership race for House Democrats.

Updated on Nov. 25 at 10:31 a.m.