The selection of New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney to lead the DCCC on Thursday was welcome news for a number of Democratic strategists who see it as a chance to give more firms committee business and spur innovation.
Ahead of being elevated to chair, Maloney said in an interview with Axios that he thought the committee’s “blacklist” was a mistake and that it was one of the things he would likely change if he was leading the party’s House campaign arm.
Several consultants told C&E the blacklisting of shops that work with Democratic primary challengers isn’t likely to be addressed until well into 2021, but they’re now hopeful that the blanket ban will be rolled back.
“I’m hoping that they do a reversal and let candidates pick who they work with,” said Ryanne Brown, managing director of digital advertising at the progressive shop Do Big Things. Her firm worked with Congresswoman-elect Marie Newman (D), who successfully primaried ex-Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D) this cycle in Illinois’ third district before going on to claim the seat.
Brown said that success came from knowing the district and its constituents well. “The firm should match the district in terms of needs, values, and representation,” said Brown, who’s based in Chicago. “The electorate is changing, how we reach these folks is changing. Pick firms based on their ability.”
Brown said she understands the concern that House members have about their DCCC dues supporting shops that do primary work, but said that competition was beneficial for her side overall.
“I understand that, but I also think that the primary is a time for people to really understand what these folks are about,” she said. “I think that the DCCC should take a hard look at some of these on a case-by-case basis.”
Adriel Hampton, a progressive digital consultant who is mulling his own primary challenge to California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), said that allowing more vendors to work with the DCCC could help elevate novel outreach tactics.
“Primary challenges are really important to the long-term health of the Democratic Party,” he said. “Handicapping challengers by icing out consultants and vendors who support them is a recipe for rot in the DCCC. I’m hopeful that Rep. Maloney will support Democratic House challengers as valuable members of a diverse party — ending the DCCC blacklist and investing more in an ideologically and tactically diverse set of consultants would be a good start.”