Politico: DCCC adds 12 challengers to first round of 'Red to Blue' program
By Ally Mutnick
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named a dozen candidates to the first round of its “Red to Blue” program for top House challengers.
House Democrats are largely on defense this cycle after flipping 43 seats in 2018, but this list offers a road map to who party strategists believe are the top-tier prospects to expand their majority.
The new additions: Hiral Tipirneni (AZ-06), Betsy Dirksen Londrigan (IL-13), Dan Feehan (MN-01), Gina Ortiz Jones (TX-23) and Carolyn Long (WA-03), who were all 2018 nominees; Christina Hale (IN-05), Rita Hart (IA-02) and Jackie Gordon (NY-02), who are running in open seats; Jill Schupp (MO-02); Wendy Davis (TX-21) and Eugene DePasquale (PA-10).
“These Red to Blue candidates are veterans, farmers, doctors, public servants and advocates who are committed to serving their communities and ensuring they will finally have a voice in Congress,” DCCC Chairwoman Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) said in a statement.
Bustos will announce the slate to the House Democratic Caucus Tuesday morning during a meeting at the DCCC headquarters. She also named Reps. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) and Donald McEachin (D-Va.) as co-chairs of the Red to Blue program.
The campaign arm is also throwing support behind California state Assemblywoman Christy Smith, a candidate in the special election to replace former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill in the state's 25th District. The decision to place Smith in the program is notable because it could foreshadow a future financial investment ahead of the March 3 all-party primary.
Smith will be battling liberal commentator Cenk Uygur, founder of the Young Turks, for Democratic votes. Both raised large, six-figure sums last quarter, but national Democrats are hesitant about Uygur, who has made a slew of crude comments about women, Muslims and Jews.
But the campaign arm has notably steered clear of other crowded primaries. Missing from the list are several prime pickup opportunities including seats held by Reps. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and a handful of open seats in suburban Texas.
All those races have several credible contenders with no apparent frontrunner.
The Red to Blue program rewards candidates that meet certain metrics on fundraising, grassroots organizing and campaign infrastructure. The DCCC has prioritized the building an offensive battlefield, eager to force Republicans to play defense in expensive media markets.
DePasquale, Tipirneni, Long and Davis all outraised GOP incumbents in the third quarter. And a handful on the list have already announced massive fourth-quarter fundraising, including Ortiz Jones, Davis, Schupp and Feehan.