House Democrats launch PAC to protect incumbents from attacks from within
WASHINGTON – Three top House Democrats have launched a new political group to defend incumbents facing major challenges, according to the group’s founders.
The political action committee, called Team Blue, will fill a gap for members running for re-election who may not be able to enlist the help of official Democratic Party committees to tackle key challenges.
Democrats are taking no chances before a tough round of midterm elections as they try to retain their slim four-seat majority in the House. Historically, the president’s party has lost seats in Congress in the midterm elections.
These losses could be compounded by tumultuous primary challenges.
Some of these main challengers enjoy well-funded support from outside groups. Justice Democrats and Courage to Change, left-wing groups that have the backing of well-known members like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., have not been afraid to pump money into races to oust the Democratic incumbents.
The upcoming redistribution process adds to the risk for incumbents, when outgoing Democrats find themselves arguing their case with new constituencies or possibly merging into one district with another member.
The PAC is established by three rising stars of the House Democratic Caucus: Representatives Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, and Terri Sewell of Alabama.
“The House Democratic Caucus is the most diverse and dynamic legislative caucus in the history of the republic,” Jeffries said in an interview. “This effort to protect our amazing members is an extension of my job as caucus chair: to ensure members are successful as elected officials and to create campaigns to connect with the people they represent.”
Because the Congressional Democratic Campaign Committee, or DCCC, does not engage in the primaries and focuses its resources on members from the most competitive districts, Team Blue PAC will help those who might be in safe seats for the party but facing a main challenger. The group also wants to help members whose seats may seem secure but become competitive at the last minute.
A person familiar with the formation of the PAC said some Democrats have complained about the party’s campaign structure.
“Members have long said … that we are supporting the DCCC, but the DCCC is not giving us any support,” the source said.
The new PAC comes amid a growing rift over ideological purity among Democrats.
Progressives increasingly argue that moderates have no place in the party, including drawing hard lines on issues like abortion, racial justice and climate change.
Progressive challengers have been successful, including Ocasio-Cortez, who ousted former Rep. Joe Crowley in 2018, who at the time held the same leadership position in the House Democratic Caucus that Jeffries now holds. In 2020, Reps Cori Bush, D-Mo., And Jamaal Bowman, DN.Y., were elected after beating longtime members of the Democratic House in the primaries.
The leaders of this new group – Jeffries, Gottheimer and Sewell – represent the more moderate factions of the Democratic caucus, who are more likely to see left-wing primaries. Gottheimer is co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solver Caucus, and Sewell is a member of the New Democrat Coalition and the Congressional Black Caucus.
“It’s to protect the majority,” Gottheimer said in an interview, “and the only way to win the majority is to have a big party and make sure our members have the resources they need to communicate. their accomplishments and values that we everyone cares about. “