Wasserman Schultz Eyes Leadership Lader

By Anna Palmer and Steven T. Dennis, CQ-Roll Call

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is taking all the right steps from now to Election Day to make her a favorite to assume the helm of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee next cycle.

The Florida Democrat, who is vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee and vice chairwoman for incumbent retention for the DCCC, is traveling to 20 districts before the midterm elections to raise money and headline campaign events for vulnerable lawmakers.

“This is the third cycle that I’ve been spending a lot of time on the road,” Wasserman Schultz said. “It’s more and more every cycle. Mostly it’s because ‘Frontline’ Members have asked me to come to their districts.”

Several leadership aides and Democratic lobbyists said Wasserman Schultz’s intense fundraising schedule is part of her strategy to earn a senior leadership position next cycle — either at the DCCC or within the Democratic Caucus.

But Wasserman Schultz isn’t the only Democrat angling for a spot in leadership.

Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.), DCCC vice chairman for finance, and Rep. Steve Israel (N.Y.), chairman of the DCCC’s recruitment efforts, are also mentioned among Democratic aides and on K Street as top candidates to replace two-term DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.). Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to announce Van Hollen’s replacement by mid-January.

Crowley has a fundraising edge among the trio. He had contributed nearly $7.4 million to the DCCC this cycle as of the end of July, according to a recent DCCC dues sheet. Wasserman Schultz and Israel contributed about $3.7 million and $1.6 million, respectively, over that same time period.

While Wasserman Schultz may not have raised as much money as Crowley, she has opened up her donor base to several Members.

“That’s one of the real assets she brings to the table,” Rep. Bruce Braley (Iowa) said. “I call it a pay-it-forward mentality. She has the luxury of being in a district where she is probably going to get re-elected without a huge challenge.”

“You know that’s a way that breeds loyalty and a sense of commitment that she’s helping,” Braley added.

To read more, visit: https://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?docid=news-000003722023&topic=Feature

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