By Eli Yokley
January 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm ET
Former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel has been enlisted to help the party make up ground in governor’s races ahead of a crucial election year in 2018.
As the party looks to gain ground at the state level before the redistricting that will take place after the 2020 Census, the Democratic Governors Association said Israel, who left Congress this year after eight terms, will serve as a new adviser.
“Electing Democratic governors is a key step to winning back a lasting Democratic majority in Congress,” the New York Democrat said in a statement Wednesday. “With Democratic governors in office, we can fight back against GOP gerrymandering and pave the way for Democrats to win back the House of Representatives.”
The DGA program Israel will advise, Using The Map, is set to focus on 13 gubernatorial contests between now and the 2018 elections and five more by 2020.
Like other Democratic leaders, Gov. Dan Malloy of Connecticut, the group’s outgoing chairman, and Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, the incoming chairman, have in recent months sought to raise the profile of the down-ballot contests, which have been unkind to the party since President Barack Obama’s election in 2008.
Malloy helped start coordinated redistricting preparation with the party’s state legislative arm and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the two of them penned a letter pleading to the next Democratic National Committee chairman to focus on state-level races.
Obama has made clear, as recently as his farewell address on Tuesday, that redistricting would be a top priority of his after he leaves the White House.
Along with the party’s established structure, outside groups such as EMILY’s List are also getting involved.
Eli Yokley is a senior data reporter at Morning Consult covering politics and campaigns. @eyokley