Speaker Nancy Pelosi tapped New York Rep. Steve Israel to head the House campaign committee as Democrats try to regroup after punishing election losses cost them the majority.

Pelosi said Friday that Israel, who has represented a Long Island district since 2001, "knows how to win in tough districts," a skill that "will provide critical leadership for Democrats to regain the majority in 2012."

Israel will replace Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland who headed the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2008 election when Democrats picked up 24 seats and again this year when Democrats lost more than 60 seats and ceded the majority to the Republicans.

Since early last year the 52-year-old Israel has been responsible for leading the DCCC's recruiting efforts. Over the past two years, the organization spent $82 million to support 107 House Democratic candidates.

Earlier this year, Israel briefly considered a primary challenge to New York's Democratic senator, Kirsten Gillibrand.