- The longest-serving Indian American representative threw his hat in the race along with fellow California Congressman Tony Cárdenas.
Incoming Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York has sidelined Rep. Ami Bera and Tony Cárdenas of California and appointed Rep. Suzan DelBene of Washington to lead the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The fundraising arm of the Democratic Party is charged with recruiting Democratic candidates and supporting their campaigns. The position will be vacant as current DCCC chief, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), lost his reelection bid in the midterm elections. “The leadership decided they needed to elevate a woman to the role,” CNN reported, quoting sources, about DelBene’s appointment. Jeffries’ decision will need to be ratified by the full Democratic caucus.
Bera, the longest-serving Indian American representative threw his hat in the race for the DCCC head last month. said he’s “confident” that his “skills and experiences” would make him “the best choice” to lead the DCCC, “at this pivotal moment as we seek to win in 2024 and deliver for the American people.” Bera led the DCCC “Frontliners” program for vulnerable incumbents this cycle. When he declared his candidacy, the post of DCCC chief “was still among the party leadership positions decided by a caucus-wide election,” as NBC News reported. “But last month Democrats decided instead to give Jeffries the authority to select a DCCC head, subject to confirmation by the full caucus,” the report said.
In a letter to his colleagues, Bera, who was just easily re-elected from California’s 7th district, wrote that as the DCCC frontline chair for the past four years and a member of Chair Sean Patrick Maloney’s leadership team, he “oversaw the efforts to protect vulnerable frontline members while also helping elect dynamic new members.” He noted in the letter that “as a first-generation Indian American,” he understands “the strength of our diversity.” He told colleagues that he has won in competitive districts and that his district is now a safe Democratic seat. He also touted his work with the DCCC, which saw a better-than-expected year, despite losing the House majority.
However, Bera’s candidacy also “came with some baggage as his opponents resurfaced reports that his father had been sentenced in 2016 after prosecutors tracked “at least $260,000 in illegal contributions funneled through donors but secretly paid by the elder Bera through multiple bank accounts used to further cover his tracks,” The Los Angeles Times reported.