Veterans, teachers, and community leaders make up a diverse slate of candidates poised to help Democrats take back the House
Today, the DCCC announced the first slate of 17 top-tier candidates added to its highly competitive ‘Red to Blue’ program for the 2024 cycle. This initial slate of candidates will receive strategic guidance, staff resources, training, and fundraising support to ensure they are in the best possible position to win in November.
“House Democrats have multiple paths to winning back the majority and this incredible slate of candidates are at the forefront of these efforts,” said DCCC Chair Suzan DelBene. “These candidates reflect the broad and diverse coalition that will be critical to Democrats’ success in 2024, and their commitment to solving the urgent problems facing everyday Americans stand in stark contrast to the MAGA fealty of their opponents. I look forward to working with them to defeat Republican extremism, grow the middle class, and defend reproductive freedom when Democrats take back the House this November.”
Red to Blue is a highly competitive and battle-tested DCCC program that arms top-tier candidates with organizational and fundraising support to help them continue to develop strong campaigns.
About DCCC’s New Red To Blue Candidates:
AZ-06 – Kirsten Engel: Kirsten Engel is a mom, an environmental attorney, and a former State Legislator who has fought for years to restore funding to public schools, protect Arizona’s natural resources, and make her community safer. In the Arizona State Capitol, she built a reputation as a pragmatic leader who will roll up her sleeves to deliver results for Arizona families. Kirsten was less than 6,000 votes shy of winning this seat last cycle, and that was before Juan Ciscomani’s extreme voting record of restricting abortion access and enabling dangerous MAGA Republicans at every turn. This Biden-won district is a top pickup opportunity for Democrats this November.
CA-13 – Adam Gray: Adam Gray is a native son of the Valley – born and raised in Merced – so he understands firsthand the problems facing the Central Valley. As a California Assemblymember, Adam fought against the state water grab, increased funding for public safety, wrote the bill to suspend the gas tax, and paved the way for rural health care expansion at UC Merced. His strong record is why members of the law enforcement community and Republicans alike support Adam and his fight to keep our communities safe. As the Democratic nominee for Congress in CA-13 in 2022, Adam came within 564 votes of beating extremist John Duarte – one of the closest margins in the country – and he’ll finish the job in 2024.
CA-22 – Rudy Salas: Born and raised in the Central Valley, Rudy Salas grew up working the fields with his dad before the sun rose. As the first Latino Bakersfield City Council Member in its 112-year history, and later as a California Assemblymember, Rudy has fought for the values of hardworking families in his community. From protecting a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions and winning overtime pay for farmworkers, to lowering the price of prescription medication and voting against the gas tax, Rudy has always stood up for the Central Valley – and he’ll do the same in Washington. Rudy was the Democratic nominee for Congress in CA-22 in 2022, coming within just over 3,000 votes of unseating David Valadao – an enabler of his party’s worst impulses who speaks like a moderate while voting as an extremist.
CA-27 – George Whitesides: George Whitesides is a job creator who understands the needs of the Antelope Valley, the San Fernando Valley, and Santa Clarita. Over the past 20 years, George served as Chief of Staff for NASA during the Obama administration, was the first CEO of Virgin Galactic, where he created hundreds of good-paying jobs in the Antelope Valley, and supported front-line responders through his founding of Megafire Action, an organization dedicated to solving our nation’s wildfire crisis. His record stands in stark contrast to Mike Garcia’s, a MAGA Republican who has consistently failed to prioritize the interests and needs of communities in this Democratic-leaning district.
CA-41 – Will Rollins: Will Rollins is a former federal prosecutor who has spent his career taking on counterterrorism cases and working to keep Inland Empire residents safe. For five years, Will served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section of the National Security Division, where he helped prosecute some of the insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Additionally, he helped the FBI respond to threats from ISIS, the Sinaloa cartel, and Al Qaeda terrorists. Will was the Democratic nominee for Congress in CA-41 in 2022, and significantly overperformed the fundamentals of the district, coming closer than any candidate has to unseating the 30-year incumbent Ken Calvert in over a decade – and he’ll finish the job this November.
CO-03 – Adam Frisch: Adam Frisch is a local businessman who will stand up to DC politicians and fight for rural Colorado. He’s running for Congress to promote local energy production, protect Colorado’s water, expand access to health care, create jobs and defend reproductive freedom. After building a strong coalition and showing up for Coloradans in every corner of the district last cycle, Adam came within 546 votes of flipping this seat and restoring moderate, common-sense leadership for Colorado.
IA-01 – Christina Bohannan: Growing up in a mobile home with working-class parents, Christina Bohannan understands the struggles many Iowa families face firsthand. A mom and former Iowa state legislator, Christina is ready to protect women’s reproductive freedom, lower costs, and grow the middle class. Christina is running for Congress to get things done for Iowa families – unlike Mariannette Miller-Meeks who has become a rubber stamp for Washington special interests after winning by only 6 votes in 2020.
IA-03 – Lanon Baccam: Lanon Baccam is a first-generation American, born and raised in rural Iowa, who has dedicated his life to service. A combat veteran, Lanon enlisted in the Iowa National Guard when he was 17 before deploying to Afghanistan. After he returned, he worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture supporting veterans transitioning to careers in agriculture and expanding high speed internet access across Iowa and the country. While Lanon has a strong record of fighting for Iowans, Zach Nunn has embraced his party’s dysfunction and extreme anti-abortion agenda, which couldn’t be more out of step for one of the most evenly-divided districts in the country that was only decided by roughly 2,000 votes in 2022.
MI-07 – Curtis Hertel: Curtis Hertel has always been a trusted and relentless advocate for Mid-Michigan. In the state legislature and as Governor Whitmer’s Director of Legislative Affairs, he led the fight to pass bipartisan bills that cut taxes for seniors and middle-class families, expanded workers’ rights, and secured critical manufacturing investments that will bring good-paying jobs back to Mid-Michigan. Curtis was instrumental in repealing Michigan’s archaic 1931 law that banned abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. MI-07 is an open seat and was one of the most expensive House races in the country last cycle. In 2020, President Biden carried this seat by just a single point, and this November, Curtis will keep this highly competitive seat in Democratic hands
MT-01 – Monica Tranel: Monica Tranel grew up on a ranch in Montana where she helped feed pigs, stack hay, and fix fences and that work ethic led her to become a world-class rower in two Olympic games. As a lawyer, Monica spent her career holding out-of-state billionaires and corporations accountable for ripping off Montanans – saving families, ranchers, and small businesses millions of dollars. Monica is running for Congress to stand up to Washington special interests that surround her opponent, Ryan Zinke, a corrupt politician who has faced 18 investigations and has put enriching himself and his corporate donors before Montanans.
NE-02 – Tony Vargas: The son of working-class Peruvian immigrants, Tony Vargas has dedicated his life to serving his community as a teacher, school board member, and state senator. In the state legislature, Tony fought to expand access to health care for thousands of Nebraskans, improve education, create good-paying jobs, and bucked his party to pass two of the largest tax cuts in Nebraska history. Tony came within 6,000 votes of defeating Don Bacon in 2022, a sign that Nebraskans are fed up with Bacon’s political games and ready for Tony’s proven record of delivering for families.
NY-03 – Tom Suozzi: As Mayor of Glen Cove, Nassau County Executive, and a three-term Congressman, Tom Suozzi worked with both parties to get things done and deliver meaningful results for families across Nassau County and Queens. From reducing costs to make life more affordable, improving public safety by supporting police, advocating for bipartisan solutions to fix our border, caring for veterans, and protecting our environment by cleaning the Long Island Sound, Suozzi focuses on what matters most. After fraudster George Santos was ousted, Suozzi is running to restore trust and ensure that families across New York’s Third Congressional district have a fighter for them in Congress once again.
NY-17 – Mondaire Jones: Former Congressman Mondaire Jones was raised in Section 8 housing in Rockland County by a single mother. A former litigator for Westchester County, Mondaire defended correctional officers and helped make communities safer by taking guns away from dangerous people. Mondaire was a member of the most productive Congress in modern history, capping prescription drug costs for seniors and delivering hundreds of millions of dollars to the Lower Hudson Valley for schools, housing, and health care. He also delivered record law enforcement funding to support our police officers, staunchly defended Israel, and worked to block members of Congress from getting rich off the stock market. Now, Mondaire is running to return to Congress to finish the work he started to lower costs for everyday people, defend democracy, improve public safety, and stop Republicans from banning abortion.
NY-19 – Josh Riley: Josh Riley was born and raised in Endicott, New York, where his mom worked in law enforcement and his family worked in manufacturing for generations. Josh saw friends and family lose jobs while Wall Street got rich, motivating him to devote his career to fighting for working families. As an attorney and public servant, he advocated for children who needed healthcare, protected the right to vote, brought together Democrats and Republicans to fight the opioid epidemic, and held companies accountable for exploiting workers, servicemembers, and seniors. In 2022, Josh came within 1.6 points of defeating Marc Molinaro after a long redistricting process. In 2024, he’s running for Congress to take back this Biden-won seat and ensure communities across New York’s 19th Congressional District have the representation they deserve.
OR-05 – Janelle Bynum: Janelle Bynum is an Oregon state legislator with a proven track record of delivering results. A small business owner, engineer, and mom of four, Janelle has been a consistent champion for Oregon families and is ready to represent the communities of the 5th District in Congress. During her four terms in the state legislature, Janelle has worked with her colleagues across the aisle to protect reproductive rights, address housing affordability, and strengthen Oregon’s local economy. This past legislative session, Janelle led the push in the Oregon House to pass the Oregon CHIPS Act, which will give Oregon a competitive edge and help bring thousands of good jobs in the semiconductor industry to the state. In previous races for the Oregon State House, Janelle has twice beaten the incumbent, Lori Chavez-Deremer – and she’ll do it again in 2024.
TX-15 – Michelle Vallejo: Michelle Vallejo was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley and comes from a family of farm workers, immigrants, and entrepreneurs. Her commitment to public service was driven by her mother’s 15-year-long battle with multiple sclerosis, inspiring her to advocate for more affordable and accessible health care. Michelle runs Pulga Los Portales, a local flea market and community hub with her dad, which for nearly 25 years has been serving thousands of Texans weekly and has helped dozens of working-class entrepreneurs start and run their own businesses and provide for their families. Michelle ran a strong campaign in 2022, nearly flipping this Trump district and forcing the NRCC to spend heavily. This time, voters have evidence of Monica De La Cruz’s extreme agenda that is hurting Texas families and are eager to vote her out and elect Michelle Vallejo.
VA-02 – Missy Cotter Smasal: Missy Cotter Smasal is a Navy veteran, former small business owner, and mom who understands the needs of Coastal Virginians. Missy’s call to public service, exemplified by her time in the Navy and the bipartisan Chesapeake Bay Commission, is why she will always put country over party to get things done for veterans, active service members, and working class families. Jen Kiggans has been nothing but a rubber stamp for the MAGA agenda, voting to restrict abortion and claiming to want the same things as her “teammate” Marjorie Taylor Greene. This Biden-won district that was narrowly lost in 2022 is one of the most competitive races in the country.