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'Complete Chaos': Why The House Democrats' Campaign Arm Just Purged Its Top Staffers

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

House Democrats may be united in their hatred of President Donald Trump, but that doesn’t mean drama can’t engulf the party. It’s now a two-front war. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who tried to create a buffer zone between Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and her crew, was forced to embrace them when Trump attacked them on social media. This Leninist Girl Scout Troop is starting to be viewed as the face of the Democratic Party, along with all of their left-wing proposals that are not viewed favorably by the electorate, especially Independent voters. For swing voters in the competitive House races in 2020, AOC and her posse were not viewed positively at all; the same goes for their trash policy proposals. Now, we have issues at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.


These internal divisions aren’t going away. You’d think that the DCCC would navigate through the criticisms concerning a lack of diversity at the upper crust. Nope. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), the chair this cycle, has decided to cave to those members, purging its top staff. The rumblings of a possible shakeup were in the works, with the situation at the DCCC being described as “complete chaos” (via Politico):

The top echelon of staffers at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee left their jobs Monday, a shakeup following a pair of POLITICO stories detailing deep unease with the party’s campaign apparatus over a lack of diversity.

On Monday morning, Allison Jaslow, DCCC executive director and a close ally of Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) — chair of the committee — resigned during a tense meeting at the party’s Capitol Hill headquarters. And in the next 10 hours, much of the senior staff was out: Jared Smith, the communications director and another Bustos ally; Melissa Miller, a top DCCC communications aide; Molly Ritner, political director; Nick Pancrazio, deputy executive director; and Van Ornelas, the DCCC’s director of diversity.

Jacqui Newman, the chief operating officer for the campaign arm, will serve as interim executive director and facilitate the search for a permanent replacement, Bustos said in a statement late Monday.


"Today, I recognize that, at times, I have fallen short in leading these talented individuals. To my colleagues, who I have the upmost respect for, I hear your concerns, and we can and must do better," Bustos said.

Newman will chair an executive council to conduct a "national and open search" for a new executive director, Bustos said. Several other top DCCC staffers, including Danny Kazin, the deputy executive director, and Kozloski will also be on the council.


A staff turnover of this magnitude seven months into the Democrats’ majority is jarring, and will present Bustos with a set of new challenges. She will be forced to rebuild the committee’s top leadership from scratch in the middle of a presidential campaign that has much of the party’s best talent tied up.

Bustos is, indeed, under a microscope. Democrats across the Capitol have privately griped about what they see as a subpar campaign committee with a chairwoman unresponsive to members' concerns, and unable or unwilling to live up to her own promises to hire a diverse staff.


Democrats have no presidential candidate that can beat Trump at the moment, an agenda that is too extreme and unpalatable for most voters, and its House caucus’ campaign arm now being totally gutted and redone. And you think it’s going to be easy trying to campaign, while rebuilding, and hoping to avoid hitting any icebergs lay out by AOC and her crew. Oh, and Ocasio-Cortez hasn’t ruled out supporting primary challengers to Democrats that she views as too moderate and pragmatic. Yeah, that seems like it could cause some heartburn within the Democratic caucus. Oh wait; it has. 

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