Politico has exposed the chaos within the Democratic Congressional Committee (DCCC) over the lack of diversity within the leadership ranks. Many members from the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus have expressed frustration with Chairwoman Cheri Bustos.
Now the DCCC, the primary fundraising arm for Democrats in Congress, has lost six of its tops aides.
The situation within the DCCC escalated so much that Busto returned to Washington, DC, this week during the six-week recess.
Politico reported late Monday night:
On Monday morning, Allison Jaslow, DCCC executive director and a close ally of Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) — chair of the committee — resigned during a tense meeting at the party’s Capitol Hill headquarters. And in the next 10 hours, much of the senior staff was out: Jared Smith, the communications director and another Bustos ally; Melissa Miller, a top DCCC communications aide; Molly Ritner, political director; Nick Pancrazio, deputy executive director; and Van Ornelas, the DCCC’s director of diversity.
Jacqui Newman, the chief operating officer for the campaign arm, will serve as interim executive director and facilitate the search for a permanent replacement, Bustos said in a statement late Monday.
“Today has been a sobering day filled with tough conversations that too often we avoid,” Bustos said. “But I can say confidently that we are taking the first steps toward putting the DCCC back on path to protect and expand our majority, with a staff that truly reflects the diversity of our Democratic caucus and our party.”
The DCCC held an emotional meeting on Friday. People who attended the meeting told Politico that “Jaslow cried as she assumed blame for the lack of diversity in the DCCC.”
— Allison Jaslow (@jaslow) July 29, 2019
After 4+ years and over 2 cycles, I’m sad to say that I won’t be on the DCCC team after today. We had strategic disagreements, but I wish them the best of luck and know that they will hold onto the House that we fought so hard to win in 2018.
— Molly Ritner (@MollyRitner) July 30, 2019
Newman will now “chair an executive council” where she will perform a “national and open search.” The council will include “other top DCCC staffers, including Danny Kazin, the deputy executive director.”
Bustos came back to DC after the committee held a strained conference call on Saturday, the day after the heated meeting. For Bustos, the phone call caused more problems because Democrats said she “only ‘briefly’ apologized for the comments” she made about her family background to prove she does not hold racist views. She reminded the lawmakers and staff that “her husband is of Mexican descent, her children are half Mexican and her son is marrying an African American woman.”
The lack of diversity has led members to believe this problem could cause problems with fundraising. The Republican Party has blown away the Democrats when it comes to fundraising, but Democrats received good news last week:
Key House campaigns reported massive fundraising hauls for this early stage of the campaign cycle, according to federal disclosures filed this past week by congressional campaigns, with all Democratic freshmen but one outraising their declared Republican challengers and several GOP incumbents lapped by Democratic opponents.
All told, Democratic House candidates raised $17.6 million more than Republicans between April and June, according to a Washington Post analysis of quarterly fundraising reports. That gap could close as more GOP challengers announce their campaigns, but it represents a significant head start for Democrats.
The Democrats hope Bustos will act on their demands to perform an “immediate restructuring” to the DCCC leadership to bring back the calm the party desperately needs.
The staffers and sources do not have their hopes up because “it’s unclear what immediate actions, if any, Bustos intends to take.”
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