By Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Opinion Contributor, The Hill
When the 2016 election wrapped, no one would have predicted that Democrats would take back 30 House seats (and counting) just two years later. And yet, as final votes are tallied in yet-uncalled districts, here we are.
NewDemPAC put its name behind 76 candidates for Congress this year including 45 fully-endorsed candidates. While votes are still being counted, it appears that we’re on track to bring over 25 of them to Congress.
We did all this without throwing elbows or engaging in intra-party fighting that for too long has put Democrats on the defensive. We helped our candidates raise money, of course, but we also took our work a step further by engaging day-to-day with candidates in their races. We helped them prep for debates, provided background on federal policy, and advocated for our candidates with allied groups to ensure they had what they needed.
I had the pleasure of spending time with our candidates around the country, and while I feel strongly that we provided critical support, I know it wasn’t our work that got them over the finish line. These are outstanding individuals who matched their districts. They, and their staffs, worked tirelessly and made it happen.
This year we saw an overwhelming influx of servant leaders who answered the call to serve their neighbors in Congress. We had veterans, business leaders, local elected officials, nonprofit executives and others decide to bring their diverse and impressive expertise to Washington to help us cut through the rhetoric and posturing so we can ensure families have the tools they need to build a better future.
It’s an honest pitch that voters responded to in a big way, with results that speak for themselves.
Our candidates promised to deliver on the values and goals of their districts -- their friends and neighbors – in Washington. They promised to build upon the good work President Obama started: an Affordable Care Act that protects people with pre-existing conditions, a tax reform package that prioritizes job growth and the middle class, and commitment to policies that give every American a chance to succeed. Each of these promises were authentic to these candidates, and consistent with the priorities of the majority of people of their districts.
That laser-sharp focus on kitchen table issues signaled that our candidates had the same bread-and-butter concerns as the voters they hoped to represent. Just as important, these candidates committed to working across the aisle – as well as across ideologies – to solve problems in Washington.
At the end of the day, that’s what voters want. They want an end to the fighting and chaos in Washington. They want leaders who go to Washington for the right reasons, for service, and to get stuff done. They want results.
The candidates who won this week have the grit and determination to deliver. It won’t be easy, but they’re energized, they’re smart, and they’re ready. I’m pleased NewDemPAC played a role and helped, and even more excited about my new colleagues to be; they’ve already shown through their tremendous campaigns that they are strategic and capable and I look forward to working with them to serve the American people.
Congressman Scott Peters represents the 52nd district of California. He is a leader within the New Democrat Coalition and serves as chair of the NewDemPAC.