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Schneider, Davids vie for New Dems top slot

Schneider, Davids vie for New Dems top slot

Reps. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) and Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) are launching their campaigns to lead the influential New Democrat Coalition next Congress with similar pitches.

Both candidates are portraying themselves as the right leaders to excel on the campaign side while notching legislative wins.

Under the leadership of retiring Rep. Annie Kuster (D-N.H.), the block of center-left members played a critical role in the passage of major bipartisan bills this Congress. One hundred Democrats were members of the pro-business, pragmatic group this Congress. And with other centrist Democratic factions like the Blue Dogs declining in numbers, New Dems are set to be increasingly relevant.

Here’s an inside look at the race to replace Kuster.

Davids’ take: Davids, a Frontliner and former MMA fighter, says she’s running to provide “a different kind of leader than New Dems has had before.”

Davids, who flipped a red seat in 2018, said she’d be the first person elected after the 2012 cycle to lead the caucus. Plus, Davids would also be the first Native American lawmaker to head the group. Davids added that her “listen-first” leadership style would allow her to “tap into the talents of our pretty diverse membership.”

The Kansas Democrat said her experience winning tough elections would help her run the New Dem political operation, which boosts a number of fellow Frontliners and Red-to-Blue candidates.

“It’s helped me learn techniques and certainly an approach that balances our legislative responsibilities with the various campaign priorities that we have,” Davids said.

Davids currently serves as the vice chair for member services of the caucus.

Schneider’s story: Schneider told us he’s best positioned to lead on the two issues that he believes will animate the 2025 legislative agenda: taxes and foreign policy.

The Illinois Democrat, who serves as the New Dem vice chair of communications, sits on both the Foreign Affairs and Ways and Means panels. Schneider emerged as one of the House Democratic Caucus’ most outspoken pro-Israel voices in the months since the Hamas attack and the subsequent war in Gaza.

Schneider also pointed to his lengthy experience in New Dem leadership and electoral history as assets for his candidacy.

First elected in 2012, Schneider flipped a red seat before losing in 2014. Schneider then won back his seat the cycle after, touting how he “took a district that was a swing district and turned it into a New Dem district.”

Schneider has served as a New Dem vice chair for two terms, while also chairing the political arm of the New Dems.

As a potential leader of the caucus, Schneider said he would employ “more of an open management style, where everyone can be involved and have that chance to shine.”

The path forward: There’s still a while to go until the coalition will elect the new chair following the November elections. Stay tuned for more updates on the leadership race.

— Max Cohen

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