Nancy Pelosi named Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) to run the next congressional elections for Democrats.
Rep. Pelosi (D-Calif.), the outgoing U.S. House of Representatives speaker, was elected minority leader last week after Democrats lost as many as 60 seats and the House in midterm elections.
Centrists questioned whether Pelosi, a liberal, should run, noting the losses; Israel, a member of the center-right “Blue Dog” caucus, will likely be seen as an accommodation of such criticism.
Israel, one of the House’s pro-Israel leaders and with a background in Jewish communal work, has consistently won his Long Island swing district since 2000.
“Steve Israel has demonstrated extraordinary capabilities in recruiting candidates, in attracting resources, and in communicating core Democratic values for middle class and working families,” Pelosi said in a statement Friday announcing that Israel would replace Rep. Chris Van Hollen as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “As DCCC chairman, Congressman Israel’s practical experience in running and winning in difficult districts will provide critical leadership for Democrats to regain the majority in 2012.”
DCCC chairmen are generally tapped from among the party’s most formidable fund-raisers.
The National Jewish Democratic Council praised the choice. “We know him to be a true leader who will help to spread both Democratic and Jewish values,” NJDC chairman David Harris said in a statement.