Flashback to 2012 — John Ewing of Nebraska. Here’s a 2012 flashback for you. This next story is one of the many reasons why there is a continuing schism between the Black Caucus and the DCCC. The simple fact is that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has shown little interest in recruiting and funding Black candidates for Congress – even at a time when African Americans are winning in congressional districts that are not even close to being majority Black (see: Reps. Waters, Rangel, Cleaver, Bass, Green, Ellison, Lee, Carson, Horsford, Hurd, Coleman, Veasey, Moore, Love…).
Even with that, the DCCC has only funded three African American candidates for Congress in six years — the third was Rep. Steve Horsford for $360,000 in late October 2014. Despite frequent requests for help from DCCC. It didn’t come until Oct. 29. Horsford lost.
Then there’s the example of John Ewing. In 2012, John Ewing, 53, ran against Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) without a dime of help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Ewing, a 24-year vet of the Omaha Police Department who made it to Deputy Chief, is also a college professor, a minister, and is the Treasurer of Douglas County, Neb., Nebraska. Even with all that, DCCC decided not to support Ewing’s candidacy for Congress in 2012 or 2014. He also raised $585,000 in 2012 — 85% of which was individual contributions.
Ewing came within 4,197 votes of beating Rep. Terry — 50-49% — without a dime of help from DCCC. This year, with Republican turned Democrat Brad Ashford, 65, suddenly Democrats found $1.1 million for Ashford’s race and they put him on the red-to-blue list. So that’s zero for Ewing in 2012 and $1.1 million for Ashford in 2014. Ashford won by 4,132.
Why didn’t the DCCC recruit and support John Ewing again in 2014?
This is why $1 million of unanswered attack ads by Karl Rove that beat Rep. Steve Horsford has many people ticked off. The fact is that even with all the talk from Democrats about the importance of the Democratic base and the Black vote, there’s no will to fund Black candidates or involve Black consultants in predominantly Black locations where Democrats need base voters. The usual talk of Democrats “parachuting” people.
The changing demographics in the country and by transition the Democratic Caucus in the House, have still failed to reach the DCCC. Though you’d never know it by the staffing and recruiting at DCCC, a little more than half of the Democratic Caucus in the House will either be Black, Hispanic or Asian Americans. American voters have had no problem voting for a diverse group of candidates — DCCC would appear to be steps behind the demographic trends.
Over the last three cycles, specifically DCCC has only funded three Black candidates: Rep. Sanford Bishop, Val Demings and — in the 11th hour — Steve Horsford. And that’s it. Losing 63 seats in 2010 and 12 in 2014 may call for different strategies and a change in thinking.
Will House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi select the first African American or Hispanic in DCCC history by selecting Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) or Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) for the job? We’ll soon see.