DCCC adds first black candidates to list of top candidates

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) added nine more candidates to its “Red to Blue” program on Thursday, including the first two black candidates this cycle to receive the designation highlighting the party’s top House candidates. 

Thus far the majority of candidates highlighted by the program — which gives candidates fundraising and organizational support in their midterm campaigns — have been women. The DCCC has faced criticism in recent months for not having any black candidates on the list.

ADVERTISEMENTBuzzfeed reported in February that The Collective PAC, a group that supports black congressional candidates, sent the DCCC a letter outlining frustration with the lack of any black candidates on the “Red to Blue” list.  The two black candidates whose additions were announced Thursday are Texas’s Colin Allred and Illinois’s Lauren Underwood.  Quentin James, The Collective PAC’s executive director, applauded the additions in a statement Thursday as an “important step in the right direction.”  “We are excited our efforts to ensure the DCCC uplifts, highlights and prioritizes black candidates are achieving results,” he said.  “Black candidates have just as much talent, fundraising capability and viability as other candidates and they’ve not only earned but deserve national party support. With more black candidates running for Congress than ever in U.S. history this year, it is critically important that we elect a more diverse and reflective Congress in 2018.”  In a statement announcing the new candidates, New Mexico congressman and DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján pointed specifically to that diversity.  “All across the country, candidates with records of service are connecting with voters, earning their trust and running increasingly competitive races,” he said.  “The candidates in this new round of Red to Blue are running grassroots campaigns bolstered by local endorsements and key indicators of support in their communities. We’re also incredibly proud of the diversity represented in this latest list — in terms of race, gender, geography and backgrounds — and I am confident these individuals will play a critical role in helping take back the House.” The designation is not an endorsement, but an indication that candidates have met certain thresholds about the health of their campaign organization and fundraising operation. Even so, it’s a coveted selection because the DCCC gives these candidates additional resources as they build out a campaign they hope will unseat a Republican incumbent.  Allred and Gina Ortiz-Jones, another add to the Red to Blue list on Thursday, have advanced to runoffs in Texas primaries.  Allred also finished first in his primary race but could not avoid a runoff. The former professional football player and member of the Obama administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development is up against another former Obama administration official, Lilian Salerno, for the right to take on Rep. Pete SessionsPeter Anderson SessionsTexas kicks off critical battle for House control The Hill’s review of John Solomon’s columns on Ukraine Tenth Congressional Black Caucus member backs Biden MORE (R-Texas) in a district that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE won in 2016, but one where Sessions remains the clear favorite.  Ortiz-Jones, a former Air Force intelligence officer, finished first in her primary, with 41 percent of the vote, a strong showing but just short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Ortiz-Jones is favored to win the runoff against Rick Trevino, a former presidential delegate for Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.). The winner of that primary will take on Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHouse Republicans hopeful about bipartisan path forward on police reform legislation House GOP delays police reform bill The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump’s public standing sags after Floyd protests MORE (R-Texas) in what could be one of the tougher match-ups of the midterm cycle.   The most well-known addition to the list is Randy Bryce, the ironworker whose announcement video about his family’s struggle with health issues went viral last year. Bryce is running in a primary for the right to challenge Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBush, Romney won’t support Trump reelection: NYT Twitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here’s why Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.) and has already proven to be a strong fundraiser.  Two of the other additions, Underwood and Betsy Londrigan, were added to the program after primary victories in Illinois Tuesday.  Underwood, a nurse who advised President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services, will face off against Rep. Randy HultgrenRandall (Randy) Mark HultgrenRepublican challenging freshman Dem rep says he raised 0,000 in 6 days Illinois Dems offer bill to raise SALT deduction cap The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority MORE (R) in November. Londrigan, a fundraiser, will run against Rep. Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisVoting reform advocates pounce on Georgia debacle to urge changes The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump visits a ventilator plant in a battleground state The Hill to interview Mnuchin today and many other speakers MORE (R).  Trump won both districts by a few points in 2016, but the races are still considered uphill climbs for Democrats and are ranked “likely Republican” by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.  Four other additions to the program have either already won their primaries or aren’t facing significant resistance ahead of their general elections.  Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval (D-Ohio) won the designation in his bid to unseat Republican Rep. Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotOhio is suddenly a 2020 battleground House passes bill to grant flexibility for small business aid program Ohio Democrat Kate Schroder wins primary to challenge Steve Chabot MORE in the fall. Pureval ran a strong race in 2016 to win that position and his entry earlier this year prompted the remaining Democratic candidates in the district to close down their campaigns. Cook recently moved the race closer to a competitive one, but it still is considered a “lean Republican” seat.  Nancy Soderberg, a former national security staffer under President Clinton, is the overwhelming favorite to win her primary in Florida, where she’s running to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisGOP tentatively decides on Jacksonville for site of convention DeSantis pushing to host Republican National Convention in Florida Florida bars and theaters to reopen starting Friday, DeSantis says MORE (R), who is running for governor. Trump won that district by about 17 points, a fact that proves the uphill battle Democrats will ahve there.  Michigan’s Gretchen Driskell, a former member of the state House, is another favorite to win her primary battle, where she hopes for a rematch against Rep. Tim WalbergTimothy (Tim) Lee WalbergThe health care crisis no one is talking about Overnight Defense: Pentagon policy chief resigns at Trump’s request | Trump wishes official ‘well in his future endeavors’ | Armed Services chair warns against Africa drawdown after trip GOP chairman after Africa trip: US military drawdown would have ‘real and lasting negative consequences’ MORE (R). She lost to Walberg by about 15 points in 2016.  California’s TJ Cox, the only candidate left to challenge Republican Rep. David ValadaoDavid Goncalves ValadaoDemocratic Rep. Cox advances in California primary The 14 other key races to watch on Super Tuesday The biggest political upsets of the decade MORE in the fall, joins the program as well. Cox, an engineer, had initially sought to run against Rep. Jeff DenhamJeffrey (Jeff) John DenhamBottom line Bottom line Lobbying world MORE (R) but switched over into this race when the party’s top candidate withdrew his candidacy. Clinton won the seat by a double-digit margin in 2016, boosting Democratic hopes there. Click Here: New Zealand rugby store

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