Washington, D.C. -- In a huge win for the nation’s leading organization working to elect black candidates, The Collective PAC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has announced it is moving its first African American Democratic congressional candidates Lauren Underwood and Colin Allred to its highly competitive Red to Blue target program.
Both candidates performed exceptionally well in their primaries. Lauren Underwood, who is running for Illinois’ 14th congressional district seat, won her primary outright on March 20th. While earlier this month Colin Allred was the top vote getter in the Texas Congressional District 32 primary elections, winning 40 percent of the vote.
The Collective PAC questioned the DCCC’s failure to endorse black candidates in the Red-to-Blue program in a letter to the group’s chair in late February. They followed up later in March with a letter to several Democratic groups calling for more recruitment, training and funding for black candidates across the board in 2018.
“We are excited our efforts to ensure the DCCC uplifts, highlights and prioritizes black candidates are achieving results,” said Quentin James, co-founder and executive director of The Collective PAC. “Black candidates have just as much talent, fundraising capability and viability as other candidates and they’ve not only earned but deserve national party support. With more black candidates running for Congress than ever in U.S. history this year, it is critically important that we elect a more diverse and reflective Congress in 2018. Today’s announcement from the DCCC is an important step in the right direction.”
The DCCC’s Red to Blue program seeks to take seats in traditionally red districts and turn them blue by equipping top candidates with organizational and fundraising support. Up until today, the DCCC had yet to endorse a single Black candidate for the program.
Most recently, The Collective PAC sent a letter to several institutions across the Democratic Party calling on them to recruit, fund and elect more candidates of color. They asked for the following commitments from major democratic affiliated organizations (read the full letter here):
1. Convene a cross-organizational task force to develop a strategy to recruit, train and fund more candidates of color by June 5, 2018. This strategy should include funding and strengthening people of color led organizations and efforts already doing this work.
2. Release a plan, with committed funding, to increase the recruitment, training and funding of candidates of color, by August 28, 2018. This three-year plan should include metrics, goals, budgets and timelines through November 2020.
3. Convene major democratic and progressive donors to discuss this plan and to support this initiative, by November 6, 2018. This convening should also be an opportunity to lift up diverse, progressive organizations that are already leading this work.