Politics

Blue Dog Coalition Elects 3 New Co-Chairs to Lead Them in Next Congress

Stephanie Murphy, Tom O’Halleran and Lou Correa will head up fiscal hawk caucus

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., elected Monday as one of three new co-chairs of the Blue Dog Coalition, will be the first woman of color to lead the group of fiscally conservative Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Blue Dog Coalition on Tuesday elected three new co-chairs — all current freshmen — to lead the group of two dozen fiscally conservative Democrats in the next Congress. 

Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy will serve as the administration co-chair, Arizona Rep. Tom O’Halleran as the policy co-chair and California Rep. Lou Correa as the communications co-chair.

All three were first elected in 2016 and will be leading the coalition during their second terms. They’ll be replacing current Blue Dog Co-chairs Jim Costa of California, Henry Cuellar of Texas and Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, who were all just elected to their eighth terms.

Murphy will be the first woman of color to lead the coalition. 

The new leaders issued separate statements emphasizing their commitment to bipartisan cooperation and results in a time of divided government.

“The Blue Dog Coalition is ready to hit the ground running with a positive agenda to address the lack of good-paying jobs and stagnant paychecks, rising health care costs, and our crumbling infrastructure,” O’Halleran said in his statement. “Most importantly, we are ready to be the voice of commonsense and thoughtful leadership the American people want.”

Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader will continue serving as chair of the coalition’s political arm, the Blue Dog PAC.

The three incoming co-chairs, as well as Schrader, are also members of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of pro-business Democrats that is expecting to have some 90-plus members next Congress. There is a lot of overlap between the two groups, but the Blue Dogs focus primarily on policies designed to promote fiscal responsibility.

Murphy, O’Halleran and Schrader are also members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. The Blue Dogs formally endorsed a package of House rules changes that the Problem Solvers proposed to foster more bipartisan legislating. 

Nine of the Democrats in the Problem Solvers Caucus, including Murphy O’Halleran and Schrader, are withholding their support for the speakership bid of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in hopes of getting her to back some of those proposals. Correa is supporting his fellow Californian. 

The Blue Dogs on Monday also formally welcomed seven new members to the coalition that its political arm had endorsed in the 2018 cycle. 

Those member-elects are Max Rose and Anthony Brindisi of New York (Brindisi’s race has not yet been called by The Associated Press), Ben McAdams of Utah, Mikie Sherrill and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, Abigail Spanberger of Virginia and Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico.

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