Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), a former Wall Street executive, will serve as the national finance chairman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, replacing Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) as the Democratic Party readies itself for the 2014 midterm election.
Himes' appointment at once increases the Democrats' access to Wall Street's cash pipeline, thanks to his 12-year run at Goldman Sachs, and undercuts the party's effort to place itself rhetorically on the side of the middle class.
Regardless, the DCCC is calling Himes, now serving his third term in Congress, the "right person" to manage the party’s fundraising operation. The committee is also trumpeting its "strongest-ever" January, in which it just out-raised the National Republican Campaign Committee by nearly $1.7 million.
"The DCCC is in our best financial position in years, and Jim Himes is the right person to build on our terrific operation so that we can wage a strong battle to roll back the Tea Party Republican House," DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) said in a statement Thursday, adding that Himes "has proven that he's deeply committed to strengthening the middle class -- and he'll work relentlessly to elect more people to Congress who share our middle class values and defeat people who want to give more tax breaks to the well-connected."
Himes, whose Goldman Sachs career culminated in his promotion to vice president, has proven himself a strong fundraiser, pulling in more than $3.6 million during his 2010 bid for reelection.
He's also shown that he can tap his Wall Street connections: During his race to unseat 10-term Republican incumbent Chris Shays in 2008, Himes raised more than $500,000 in campaign contributions from the securities and investment industries -- including nearly $150,000 from people at Goldman Sachs -- according to The New York Times.
More broadly, Himes' move to the DCCC’s national finance team reflects a shifting political climate in which lawmakers devote an increasing amount of time toward fundraising efforts and Wall Street spends record amounts on campaign contributions.