Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York was elected Thursday to lead the House Democrats’ campaign arm, charged with heading the caucus into the 2022 midterm elections. Maloney defeated Rep. Tony Cárdenas of California in a hard-fought contest to lead the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He will take on the task of holding on to the Democrats’ House majority in the first two years of a new Democratic president and under a new set of district lines drawn in large part by Republicans. Maloney replaces former DCCC Chair Cheri Bustos, who oversaw one of the caucus’s most successful fundraising cycles but also failed to predict the turnout wave from Donald Trump’s base that crushed Democrats’ hopes of winning the always-Red states of Texas and even Alaska.
Cárdenas had received strong support from both progressives and Democrats of color after proving to be a strong fundraiser and organizer while founding the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s campaign arm, BOLD Pac. However, his major campaign promise to help Democrats with their struggles with Latino voters fell flat when the party suffered surprising losses in Latino communities in Florida, Texas, and California.
Ultimately Maloney’s ability to keep a Blue seat in a district Trump had won was the key to getting support from more moderate Democrats, who are demanding a new party message that will unify the party while also distancing it from the GOP’s attacks on socialism and progressive slogans like “defund the police.” As incoming DCCC chief, Maloney will be immediately inserted into the center of an ideological debate that has gripped House Democrats since Nov 3., with the caucus’s warring factions pointing fingers at each other over exactly why they’re staring down a shrunken majority come January.
Maloney is also making history as the first member of the LGBTQ community to chair the DCCC, which is in step with the incoming Biden Administration’s promise to have a government that looks like the country it represents.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney will become the first ever openly LGBTQ person to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (@dccc). Congrats, @spmaloney — we can't wait to see you and other elected officials continue to break barriers! https://t.co/5gjILfIeGT
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) December 3, 2020
I’m honored and humbled to earn the trust of my colleagues to lead the @DCCC at this pivotal moment in history.
Now, it’s time for House Democrats to unite and go forward together. We need a unified front to win in 2022.
We will protect this majority… for the people.
— Sean Patrick Maloney (@RepSeanMaloney) December 3, 2020