Maloney Wins Race to Lead House Democrats’ Campaign Arm

December 3, 2020 by Dan McCue
Representative Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, questions witnesses during a House Intelligence Committee impeachment inquiry hearing on Capitol Hill November 21, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON – Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, of New York, won a close race to lead the House Democrats’ campaign arm during the 117th Congress, narrowly defeating Rep. Tony Cárdenas, of California, 119-107 in a secret ballot.

The outcome of the vote, which was conducted remotely during a caucus call, means Maloney will lead the party’s House election effort during what’s already expected to be a particularly grueling 2022 midterm cycle.

But Maloney, who’ll be starting his fifth term in the House in January, campaigned for the position by maintaining he’s uniquely qualified for such a challenge.

“I flipped my red district in ’12, held it in ’14 & won by double digits in every election since,” he noted on Twitter on Wednesday, as he accepted the endorsement of the New Democrat Coalition.

“This year, I won by 12.5% – my largest margin yet,” Maloney continued. “I know how to protect & expand our majority because I’ve done it myself. That’s the leadership we need to win in 2022.”

Maloney’s name was placed in nomination by Rep. Linda Sánchez, of California, and seconded by Reps. Marc Veasey, of Texas, Ayanna Pressley, of Mass., and Angie Craig, of Minn. 

Immediately after his victory, Maloney released a statement in which he said he was honored “to earn the trust of my colleagues to lead the DCCC in this pivotal moment in history.

“There is so much on the line for American families right now. As we work to recover and rebuild from this pandemic, it will be essential that we have strong leaders in Congress who will fight for the health and success of every American,” he said. “In partnership with the Biden Administration, the Democratic Party will fight for the people, strengthening our communities from coast to coast.

“A strong Democratic majority in 2022 will be essential to our fight. I will work every day to improve our campaign operations, connect with voters across lines of difference, protect our incumbents, and expand our majority.”

Among other things he’s promised to do once elected chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is appoint people to step up the party’s outreach to Latinos and to recruit women to run for office.

He also suggested he’s open to ending a committee policy not to work with consultants who also work with candidates challenging sitting Democrats in primaries.

“I … can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get to work,” Maloney said.

He succeeds outgoing DCCC chairwoman, Rep. Cheri Bustos, of Illinois, who almost lost her own race for re-election to the House, while overseeing an ultimately disappointing year for other Democratic House candidates.

Instead of adding to their House majority as was widely expected, the Democrats’ margin in the chamber shrunk to single digits, and the party did not defeat a single House GOP incumbent.

Maloney will also face historic headwinds as the party of the president in power typically loses House seats in midterm elections.

And compounding all this, a Democratic push to capture control of state legislatures this year — which would have given them the upper hand in redrawing legislative districts ahead of the 2022 election — also fell short.

But Maloney told Roll Call last month, he’s not concerned with any of this.

“My job is not to whine about [the past], my job is to win,” he said.

In addition to the New Democrat Coalition, Maloney was endorsed by the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, and also garnered the endorsements of several members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, a group that largely favored Cárdenas heading into Thursday’s vote.

In a brief statement, Bustos congratulated Maloney and said she looked forward to “working with him to keep [Rep.] Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. in the Minority Leader’s office.

“Chair Maloney has the acumen, experience and dedication to take the reins of the most-diverse DCCC in history and safeguard a Majority that Democrats maintained by winning nearly two-dozen races in Trump-won districts,” Bustos continued. “House Democrats’ Majority – and the American people – are in very capable hands under the leadership of newly-elected DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”

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