Out Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) has won the battle to be the next chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It will be the first time an out gay man has served as the chair of the House Democrats’ campaign arm.
The position will be a challenge for the charismatic congressman. He’ll be tasked with defending the party’s majority in the chamber during a midterm election.
Historically, the midterms have gone badly for the President’s party if they hold the majority. In 2018, for example, the nation gave Democrats the majority while the GOP held the Senate and presidency. In 2010, the midterm election went badly for Democrats during former President Barack Obama’s presidency and Republicans retained control until 2018.
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Responsible for recruiting potential winning candidates, fundraising for the caucus, and negotiating a course between progressive and moderate demands, Maloney will also need to modernize the office and diversify the staff.
“There is enormous power in Congressional Democrats choosing an out gay man to serve as chair, especially after an election cycle where anti-LGBTQ attacks on candidates became the norm,” Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, said.
“In 2020, the National Republican Campaign Committee operationalized anti-LGBTQ rhetoric to a new level. He will be a chair who forcefully stands behind candidates who face anti-LGBTQ, racist or sexist attacks and will refuse to allow those tactics to succeed. We are thrilled Democrats in Congress elected Sean and we know they made the right choice.”
“Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney’s election as Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is an important milestone for LGBTQ people and another example of a Democratic Caucus leadership team that reflects the diversity of our country,” Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said. “With Congressman Maloney in leadership, LGBTQ people across the country will have a seat at the table and a strong advocate to fight for us and make progress on key issues of equality.”
Ever the politician, Maloney acknowledged the issues with messaging, diversity, and consultants while sidestepping any concrete answers.
“The smart thing for the DCCC chair to do is to say, I don’t know what happened until I’ve really had a chance to dig into the numbers,” Maloney said.
Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), “a prolific fundraiser” and organizer of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s campaign arm, was Maloney’s main competition. He was preferred by progressives while moderates backed Maloney.