July 29, 2015

As 2016 elections near, Luján steps into the spotlight

Official photo of U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján

In the current permanent campaign cycle, the most important election is always the next election.

ben ray lujan smallAnd with Ben Ray Luján as the new head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, an organization tasked with electing Democrats to the U.S. House of Representatives, New Mexico will have a figure at the center of the next elections.

The DCCC and Democratic Policy and Communications Committee have given a preview of what the next few weeks will look like, as Congress goes on its annual August recess.

The Democrats are looking to retake the House or at least start to bridge the gap with the Republican majority.

According to Roll Call, there will be a good cop/bad cop routine by the Democrats in the coming weeks with the DCCC, and Luján as the head, as the bad cop.

“In this strategy session, the DCCC and DPCC will lay out our separate but complementary plans for an aggressive August recess, focused on how to best hold Republicans accountable and draw a sharp contrast through 2016,” Luján said of Wednesday’s caucus meeting, which will be held at the DCCC’s headquarters at the Democratic National Committee.

The House is expected to recess Wednesday afternoon. Members of Congress will head home and the DCCC hopes to use the recess to springboard their 2016 efforts.

From Politico:

For now, Luján is hiring 20 new staffers focused on research, communications and organizing to work in swing districts currently held by Republicans. They are revamping how the committee connects candidates in hotly contested seats with data on minority turnout and fundraising and planning an offensive to bolster Democrats in state legislatures that will oversee redistricting in 2020.

Meanwhile, Luján’s Republican counterpart is busy blasting a Republican who filed a resolution to remove Speaker of the House John Boehner from his leadership position.

“People are stunned. People are angry that somebody would pull this stunt,” said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and a top Boehner lieutenant. “I thought we had gotten past all of this. It seems odd and bizarre.”

The NRCC hasn’t announced any plans for the upcoming recess.

Republicans had some political success in the 2009 August recess in the form of explosive town halls criticizing President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

The law still passed and was signed into law, but Republicans retook control of the House in the following elections—and have held control ever since.