Rep. Ami Berra (D-Elk Grove) announced his candidacy Monday to lead the House Democrats’ campaign arm, setting up an internal leadership race between two California Democrats.
Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Pacoima) announced his bid on Friday.
In a letter to colleagues, Berra described himself as the “best choice” to lead the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, drawing on his experience as a member of outgoing DCCC leadership team Sean Patrick Maloney.
Although House Democrats generally exceeded expectations in the midterms last week, Maloney (DNY) lost his bid for re-election, leaving the leadership position open.
Berra worked with DCCC in the most recent election cycle, overseeing efforts to protect vulnerable incumbent Democrats in battle zones.
If elected as DCCC president, he said he would strive to be a “unifying bridge across counties and members” and build a “talented team that reflects the diversity, strength, and skills of our caucus and America.”
Bera, a physician, is a first-generation Native American.
He said he learned firsthand how to win tough and costly races when he unseated the Republican president in the 2012 tournament.
“I know what it takes to win a competitive race and how to connect with a wide audience,” said Berra. “Many of the practices that my office and campaign implemented and refined are now part of the programs that many of you use.”
Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX) praised Berra’s track record. “Having watched Ami help lead our efforts to protect and expand our electoral map, I know he is the most experienced and tested member of DCCC’s leadership at this pivotal moment,” he said.
Berra also touted his fundraising ability, noting that he has raised or donated nearly $500,000 for Democratic members and candidates this cycle, helped DCCC raise $1.4 million for himself and more than $3.8 million for use in frontline Republican-held districts that Democrats sought it. You are the heart.
House members defied history last Tuesday. “Not only have those on the front lines been winning close races, but we’ve flipped many red-to-blue seats and broadened and strengthened our base with historic turnout of young voters,” Berra said.
Control of the House of Representatives remains very close to call as election results continue to be counted for many races. Republicans are likely to win a narrow majority.
Republican candidates won 212 seats in the next Congress, compared to 204 for the Democrats. One party must secure at least 218 seats to claim a majority.
Democrats expect to vote on their leadership positions within the party at the end of the month.
The main unanswered question is what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) is planning. She said in 2018 that she would step down from the House Democratic Party leadership at the end of 2022 to pave the way for the next generation.
But as that date approached, Pelosi refused to talk about her plans, leading some to speculate that she might be considering staying.