Daniel Sena, a Santa Fe native, was named executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington on Thursday, marking the first time that a Hispanic has held the job.
Sena was tapped for the influential post by Rep. Ben Ray Luján, who will serve a second term as chairman of the DCCC in the next Congress. The move puts two New Mexicans in charge of the Democratic strategy to gain U.S. House seats in the 2018 mid-term elections.
Sena, 41, managed Sen. Tom Udall’s successful 2014 Senate campaign and was serving as the DCCC’s deputy executive director, with a focus on data and analytics, before Thursday’s announcement. Under Sena’s leadership, the DCCC’s data and analytics team doubled in size from a dozen to 24, making it the second-largest department at the political organization. Luján described his new top lieutenant as “aggressive, hardworking and inclusive” in a statement released by the DCCC on Thursday.
“Dan has a proven record in the toughest of House and statewide races, from West Virginia and Missouri to Nevada and New Mexico,” Luján said. “He has modernized our data and voter contact programs, thanks to his unique ability to do a deep dive into district data and demographics, while also being able to translate that into action.
“I know he will excel in protecting incumbents, working with members and candidates, and going on offense to hold House Republicans accountable in 2018.”
For his part, Sena said it was “a great honor and privilege to be asked to lead the DCCC in this exciting and challenging role.” In the coming months, Sena will be responsible for helping Luján devise a strategy to whittle away at what is now a 24-seat GOP majority in the House.
“The DCCC is already getting to work, focused on protecting all members of the Democratic caucus in their re-elections, finding new opportunities for gains in our battlefield and taking on House Republicans starting Day One,” Sena said. “We know that the House is where the fight will be this cycle in order to put a check on Republicans, and I’m excited to take on this important responsibility.”
Fetal tissue: A long-standing dispute between House Republicans and Democrats over fetal tissue research – with New Mexico institutions at the center of the debate – is sure to rage on in the next Congress.
After House Republicans doubled funding for the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives last week, Democrats countered this week by releasing a 112-page report describing the panel’s GOP-led work as a “purely partisan witch hunt against researchers and doctors.” The Democratic report is posted online at www.selectpaneldems-energycommerce.house.gov.
“When Congress spends well over a million taxpayer dollars, hardworking Americans should expect that something good will result – that their lives will be made better,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, ranking Democratic member of the select panel, in a statement. “Here, the results are the exact opposite.”
The panel has scrutinized the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and its relationship with Southwestern Women’s Options, an Albuquerque abortion services provider. Fetal tissue research, while aimed at medical breakthroughs, is controversial because of its use of fetal tissue procured from abortions.
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