Van Hollen named to lead DCCC as Pelosi finishes naming chairmen
House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi on Dec. 19 named Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland as chairman of the Democrats’ campaign arm, completing her appointments of her party’s leadership team as it assumesthecongressionalmajority next month.
Mr. Van Hollen, 47, will run the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which has the task of raising funds and recruiting candidates for the 2008 elections in order to hold new Democratic seats and increase the party’s numbers in the House.
Mrs. Pelosi of California said she was impressed by Mr. Van Hollen’s “depth of legislative experience and political savvy” and said she is confident that he will help “strengthen our Democratic majority” in his two-year term.
Mrs. Pelosi also made the last of the 22 committee chairman assignments, appointing Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio to lead the Houseethicspanel,andmakingthe expected announcements that Rep. JuanitaMillender-McDonaldofCal- ifornia will be chairman of the House Administration Committee and Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney of New York will be vice chairman of the Joint Economic Committee.
She also said Rep. Xavier Becerra of California would serve as assistant to the speaker.
Mrs. Pelosi, who will be the first female speaker in history, noted the number of women and ethnic minorities who will serve in chairmanships and leadership posts.
“With the strength of our Democratic caucus rooted in our diversity, these members will provide a strong voice for all Americans,” she said.
Mr. Van Hollen’s colleagues said he is the right choice to lead efforts to keep a Democratic majority beyond two years. In this election cycle, he was co-chairman of the DCCC’s “Red to Blue” fundraising program for candidates across the country and also worked on recruiting strong campaigners to challenge incumbent Republicans.
Next month, he takes over the job from Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois,whomDemocratshavechosen to lead their House party caucus. Mrs. Pelosi said she thinks Mr. Van Hollen will build upon the work done by Mr. Emanuel, who was widely credited for helping the Democrats capture more than 30 Republican-held seats in last month’s midterm elections.
Mr. Emanuel praised his successor as having “an acute political capacity rarely found in Washington,” and noted he considered Mr. Van Hollen one of his “top lieutenants” and consulted him “in every critical decision I had to make.” The two men were in the same freshman class in 2003, after Mr. Van Hollen unseated longtime Republican incumbent Rep. Constance A. Morella.