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September 11, 2008

Van Hollen touts minority outreach

In a memo to his Democratic colleagues, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) emphasized the importance of boosting minority voter turnout this November.

Van Hollen wrote that a key task for the committee is to ensure that African-American voters, excited by Obama’s historic candidacy, also vote for down-ballot Congressional races. He specifically touted two African-American candidates – Dan Seals in Illinois and Don Cravins, Jr. in Louisiana – running in majority-white districts.

“The DCCC is not taking any voter for granted, and we have made a significant commitment to identifying and targeting Obama drop off voters in the African American community and communicating with them specifically about our House candidates,” Van Hollen wrote in the memo.

He also noted the committee’s collaboration with Project New West, a Democratic organization that is conducting research and developing strategies to help the party turn out voters in the Southwest. The DCCC is particularly interested in the group’s polling data on Hispanic voters, who will be a crucial voting bloc in closely-watched House races in Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada.

Van Hollen touted the two Hispanic Democratic challengers to the Diaz-Balart brothers in South Florida (Raul Martinez and Joe Garcia), and also the campaign of Colombian-born Annette Taddeo, running against Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).  Taddeo was just added to the DCCC's "Red-to-Blue" list of leading recruits.

In what has become a rallying cry to complacent members, Van Hollen reiterated his concern about the efforts of  Freedom’s Watch, a conservative third-party group that he likened to a shadow NRCC. Van Hollen warned that Freedom’s Watch was their “main competition this cycle” and that the group has already priced TV time in 15 districts. (It has already aired advertisements in two Senate races, in Oregon and Colorado.)

The DCCC also announced nine new additions to its “Red-to-Blue” list of leading Democratic recruits.
The full list of candidates is below the jump:

FL 08 Alan Grayson
FL 18 Annette Taddeo
KY 02 David Boswell
NC 10 Dan Johnson
NE 02 Jim Esch
NY 26 Alice Kryzan
OH 07 Sharen Neuhardt
PA 15 Sam Bennett
TX 07 Michael Skelly