House Democrats add Aguilar and eight other recruits to ‘Red to Blue’ program


Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar (D), second from left. (Howard Pasamanick)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added nine candidates to its "Red to Blue" program for top recruits Friday, including Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, a candidate it has backed for months who appeared to barely avert disaster for the party this week by advancing to the November general election in a left-leaning California district.

Aguilar appears to have finished second with all precincts reporting in California's all-party primary Tuesday (though the AP still has not called it), narrowly advancing to a general election showdown against Republican Paul Chabot. Democrats were at risk of falling victim to a vote split among their candidates and being shut out of the general election for the second straight cycle.

A loss would have been a big embarrassment for the party in a seat where President Obama won 57 percent of the vote in 2012. The district is represented by retiring Rep. Gary Miller (R).

Candidates on the "Red to Blue" program get extra help from the DCCC, including financial and strategic support. Here's a look at the other names the committee added Friday:

Former FEMA head James Lee Witt in Arkansas' 4th district
Beekeeper Michael Eggman in California's 10th district
State Rep. Pat Murphy in Iowa's 1st district
Former National Guard soldier Jim Mowrer in Iowa's 4th district
State Sen. Brad Ashford in Nebraska's 2nd district
Physician Manan Trivedi in Pennsylvania's 6th district
Army veteran Kevin Strouse in Pennsylvania's 8th district
Former state party chairman Nick Casey in West Virginia's 2nd district

The DCCC also added five candidates to its lower-tier "Emerging Races" program:

Joe Bock in Indiana's 2nd district
Elisabeth Jensen in Kentucky's 6th district
Mike Obermueller in Minnesota's 2nd district
George Sinner in North Dakota's at-large district
Glen Gainer in West Virginia's 1st district

Sean Sullivan covers national politics for “The Fix.”
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