Politics

Steve Israel Finds New Platform

Former DCCC chairman, former Sen. Rick Santorum to join CNN as contributors

Former Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., talks with reporters in the Capitol Visitor Center after a meeting with House Democrats in June 2016. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former New York Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, an eight-term veteran of the House, is joining CNN as a contributor to its political coverage.

CNN anchor and media correspondent Brian Stelter tweeted Tuesday morning that the former chairman of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee and former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will join the network.

Israel, 58, announced his retirement in January 2015 to “pursue new passions and develop new interests, mainly spend more time writing my second novel,” according to his statement. His first novel, “The Global War on Morris,” was published in 2014.

Israel left Congress a strong critic of the campaign finance system and the hours of “call time” lawmakers are required to put in to build up their re-election coffers.

“I’ll be leaving Congress at the end of this term — sentimental about many things, but liberated from a fund-raising regime that’s never been more dangerous to our democracy,” he wrote in a New York Times op-ed last year, shortly after announcing his retirement. 

Democrat Tom Suozzi won the seat Israel vacated in November.

President-elect Donald Trump’s victory was “a historic convergence of anxieties on middle-class voters,” Israel told Roll Call in a post-election interview in November.

“We Democrats have to learn how to tap into those anxieties constructively or else Republicans will continue to do it destructively. I’m going to spend some of my new life working on that issue,” he said.

[Take Five: Retiring Rep. Steve Israel]

CNN also announced that Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who ran in the last two Republican presidential primaries, is joining the network as a contributor.

Israel and Santorum were among the six additions the network announced this week. They’ll join former Philadelphia police commissioner and Washington, D.C., police chief Charles Ramsey, Washington Post reporters David Fahrenthold and Wesley Lowery, and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

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