Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) announced her bid to lead the House Democrats’ campaign arm on Monday, setting up an internal leadership race between a pair of California Democrats.
Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Pacoima) announced his candidacy on Friday.
In a letter to colleagues, Bera presented himself as “the best choice” to lead the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, drawing on his experience as a member of outgoing DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney’s leadership team.
While Democrats overall outperformed expectations last week, Maloney (DNY) lost his own bid for re-election, leaving the leadership spot open.
Bera worked with the DCCC in the recent election cycle, overseeing efforts to protect vulnerable incumbent Democrats in battleground districts.
If elected DCCC chair, he said he would strive to be “a unifying bridge between districts and members” and build “a talented team that reflects the diversity, strengths and skills of our caucus and America.”
Bera, a physician, is a first-generation American Indian.
He said he learned firsthand how to win in tough, expensive races when he defeated a Republican incumbent in the 2012 cycle.
“I know what it takes to win in a competitive race and how to communicate with a broad constituency,” Bera said. “Many of the practices that my office and campaign implemented and perfected are now part of the programs that many of you use.”
Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas) praised Bera’s record. “After watching Ami help lead our efforts to protect and expand our electoral map, I know she is the most experienced and battle-tested member to lead the DCCC at this crucial time,” he said.
Bera also highlighted his fundraising prowess, noting that he raised or donated nearly $500,000 for Democratic members and candidates this cycle, and helped the DCCC raise $1.4 million for himself and more than $3.8 million of dollars to use in front-line districts and Republicans seeking Democrats. turn around
“House Democrats defied history last Tuesday. Not only did our first-termers win close races, but we flipped several red-to-blue seats and expanded and strengthened our base through historic turnout from young voters,” Bera said.
Control of the House remains very close to being called as election results from several races continue to be tallied. It looks like the Republicans will get a narrow majority.
Republican candidates won 212 seats in the next Congress compared to 204 of the Democrats. A party must win at least 218 seats to claim a majority.
Democrats expect to vote on their internal party leadership positions at the end of the month.
A key unanswered question is what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) plans to do. She said in 2018 that she would leave the House Democratic leadership at the end of 2022 to clear the way for the next generation.
But as that date approached, Pelosi refused to talk about her plans, leading some to speculate that she may be considering staying.