The Democratic Governors Association released an open letter to the candidates running for chairman of the Democratic National Committee listing the five criteria the DGA will use to evaluate candidates. From the letter:
1) Real, measurable commitment to investing resources in winning gubernatorial and state legislative races in 2018 and 2020, years that will decide the fate of redistricting;
2) A commitment to investing in organizing in states with competitive gubernatorial and legislative races — not just in states with competitive presidential or congressional elections;
3) A commitment from the candidate to serving full time as chair;
4) Commitment to provide resources to state parties for organizing and communications staff; to provide technical assistance for redistricting; provide training and support to recruit and support next generation of Democratic leaders;
5) A commitment to working with Democratic governors and other state policy leaders on advancing policies that grow our economy and strengthen the middle class.
The first two points are especially critical for the party’s short and long-term rebuilding plans. First, congressional redistricting is four years away, and in order to redraw more favorable maps, Democrats need to control governorships and state legislatures. (South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison noted at the forum organized by the Ohio Democratic Party last week: “33 out of 50 governorships are controlled by Republicans, 69 out of 99 state houses are controlled by Republicans, but we only obsess about the White House.”) The fact that the Democrats’ 2017-2018 calendar is much better at the state level than at the congressional level gives this even greater urgency.
The second reason is that they need to rebuild their bench in a hurry so that a new post-Obama, post-Clinton generation of leaders can make their way up the ranks. Remember, Barack Obama was in the Illinois state senate for seven years before he was elected to the U.S. Senate, which became his springboard to the presidency four short years later.