National Democratic campaign strategists on Wednesday unveiled a list of 10 congressional hopefuls who they say are not only strong candidates in already Democratic-leaning districts, but who have already raised more than $1 million combined for their party.
Each of these candidates is cast as a rising star and part of a new Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee program called “Majority Makers.” But in explaining more, the Democratic strategists point to an unlikely role model—saying that any one of them could become the “next” Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the current House majority whip.
This across-the aisle recognition is a peculiar tip of the hat to McCarthy’s success during his own first run for the House in 2006. He managed that year to raise more than $1 million and travel the country to stump for other Republican congressional candidates.
The inaugural candidates on the Democrats’ Majority Makers list of potential Kevin McCarthys are Jared Huffman and Tony Cardenas of California; former Rep. Alan Grayson and Lois Frankel of Florida; Dan Kildee of Michigan; former Rep. Dina Titus and Steven Horsford of Nevada; Hakeem Jeffries of New York; Joyce Beatty of Ohio; and Joaquin Castro of Texas. An 11th name they say will soon be added is Juan Vargas of California.
Some examples of their fundraising, according to numbers broken down by the strategists, are Castro’s having raised or given $62,000 to the DCCC and $7,000 more to other candidates; Cardenas having given $45,000 to the DCCC and $34,000 to candidates or incumbent members; and Titus having raised $80,000 at a DCCC event (including $16,000 given directly) and another $98,000 for candidates and incumbents.
It may not be a coincidence that the optimism exuded in this release of a list of helpful “rising stars” comes on the heels of a published report in The Wall Street Journal that only 16 of 191 current House Democrats had paid their full dues to the DCCC as of June 30. About 109 members had paid only part of what they owed, and nearly one-third of House Democrats—64 of them—had given no money, according to The Journal.
In a statement, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel of New York said that these “Majority Maker candidates are working hard to win their own districts and lending a critical hand to our Drive for 25 to win the House.... That so many strong candidates are willing to help our caucus before they’re even in our caucus demonstrates the strength of their campaigns and their commitment to a Democratic House majority.”
This article appears in the July 26, 2012, edition of NJ Daily.