Rep. Anna G. Eshoo advanced her bid for Energy and Commerce ranking member on Wednesday night with the launch of her new political action committee, Anna PAC.
It's an important move for the California Democrat, who needs to use every tool at her disposal to beat Frank Pallone, D-N.J., who has the edge in seniority on the powerful panel in the race to succeed retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif.
The PAC will allow Eshoo to raise money and write checks for colleagues whom she needs to win over between now and November, when the House Democratic Caucus will vote between the two lawmakers vying for the slot.
"Anna talked in a very personal way about the race, and about the group of her closest friends and the people she has come to rely on," a lobbyist present at the event told CQ Roll Call. "It was more than a fundraising stump speech." She is indebted to one close friend in particular: Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who stunned lawmakers a few weeks ago with a formal endorsement.
Eshoo also has support from many members of the California delegation who were at Wednesday night's launch: Tony Cardenas, Barbara Lee, Jared Huffman, Zoe Lofgren, Doris Matsui, George C. Miller, Eric Swalwell, Jackie Speier and Mike Thompson.
House Democratic Caucus Vice-Chairman Joseph Crowley of New York and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York were also on hand on Wednesday night, along with Connecticut Reps. Elizabeth Esty and John Larson and Michael Doyle of Pennsylvania.
So were a roster of heavy-hitters from K Street, representing business interests like Google, Yahoo!, Twitter, Johnson & Johnson, Comcast and Intel.
According to an invitation obtained by CQ Roll Call, hosts included Safra Katz, chief financial officer and co-president of the California-based Oracle corporation; Tony Podesta, a well-known lobbyist for Democratic interests; Catlin O'Neill, former chief of staff for Pelosi's congressional office and current Facebook lobbyist; and Jack Quinn of the powerhouse consulting firm Quinn Gillespie and Associates.
Pallone is more quietly courting colleagues and fundraising through his own PAC. One source told CQ Roll Call that he was the guest of honor at his own dinner Wednesday night, hosted by Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Progressive Caucus co-chairman Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin.