Representative Chris Van Hollen, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has appointed two out of the DCCC’s three vice chairs. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida is the DCCC Vice Chair for incumbent retention. Bruce Braley of Iowa will be responsible for “offensive efforts including recruitment, money, and training.”
The third vice chair, yet to be named, “will seek to increase House member participation in DCCC efforts,” which presumably means getting more safe Democratic incumbents to pay their DCCC dues.
That’s going to be a big job, since the DCCC ended the 2008 campaign some $21 million in debt.
The debt has reportedly been reduced to $13 million, with the help of a $3.5 million transfer from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. But that is still a large debt, especially since Democrats have a lot of one-term and two-term representatives to defend in 2010, which will probably be a less favorable political environment.
Democrats are gearing up for a tougher, more defensive cycle. While Democrats want to take advantage of Obama’s bank account, party officials are anxious about getting out of the red and are telling members and donors to pay up – quickly.
Democratic leaders put the squeeze on last month, asking each member in a memo for $35,000 before Christmas. The memo also listed, by name, those who had paid their committee dues and those who hadn’t.
Shortly before the election, Chris Bowers spearheaded an effort to put grassroots pressure on safe Democratic incumbents who had not paid their DCCC dues. We all have a lot on our plate this year, and Bowers is recovering from a broken arm, but the netroots need to assist the DCCC vice chair for member participation once that person has been named. We should not wait until a few weeks before the 2010 election to start pressuring incumbents who are delinquent on DCCC dues. The sooner the DCCC retires its debt, the easier it will be to recruit strong challengers and build a healthy bank balance for the next campaign.
If you are willing to help with this effort in any way (such as compiling a spreadsheet showing who has not paid and how to contact those representatives), please post a comment in this thread.