WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a move most political watchers didn’t see coming, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi today chose New Mexico’s own Rep. Ben Ray Luján as the new chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).
This is a big deal. The DCCC fundraises, recruits candidates, and organizes races seen as crucial to Democrats increasing their numbers in the House.
This move substantially raises Rep. Luján’s political profile — who was just elected to his fourth term in the U.S. House from NM’s 3rd Congressional District — especially going into 2016 when Democrats are hoping a more favorable electorate will see them increase their caucus numbers. Democratic Representatives Donna Edwards (Maryland), Jim Himes (Connecticut), Jared Polis (Colorado), and Joaquin Castro (Texas) were previously thought to be in line for the position.
From Roll Call:
In a shock to her caucus, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi selected Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2016 cycle.
Luján will lead his caucus’ political arm and all aspects of the campaign to take back the gavel: fundraising, messaging, recruiting and getting out the vote.
The choice is Pelosi’s lone decision, but it was a total shock to most Democrats on Capitol Hill.
“I am pleased recommend to our colleagues Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, a dynamic and forward-looking leader with a fresh energy and ideas that demcorats need for victory in 2016,” Pelosi said in a Monday news conference. [sic] “He has bold vision and determined leaership to deliver wins in difficult districts. I am confident [he] will prove a tireless champion.” [sic]
Luján is not the first Hispanic to lead the committee. Rep. Tony Coelho of California ran the committee for three terms in the 1980s.