Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, isn’t going to continue leading his party’s campaign efforts.
On Wednesday, the two-term DCCC leader told Newsday he would seek to remain in the House Democratic leadership but turned down Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-California) request he stay in his position.
“I’ve been really clear with leader Pelosi that I would like to continue to have a seat at the leadership table, because it makes me more effective,” he said. “I’ll stay in Congress for as long as I believe I’m effective, but I’m not going to occupy a seat in Congress for the sake of having a seat in Congress.”
Israel’s announcement follows his party’s widespread losses in last Tuesday’s midterm elections. Even in Israel’s own state, New York, Republicans picked up at least three seats and crushed Democratic candidates by stunning margins. Overall, the GOP is set to have its largest House majority in more than half a century.
“Steve Israel said it himself — ‘New York was the center of gravity’ — and he was right,” a spokesman for the Republicans’ House campaign committee told Business Insider on Wednesday. “We started the cycle with Israel and the DCCC looking to pick up 3 seats in New York and it turned out that we were the ones that picked up 3 seats.”
In his interview with Newsday, Israel touted the eight House seats Democrats picked up in the 2012 cycle and said his party prevented losses this year that “could have been a lot worse.”
It wasn’t immediately clear who might replace him at the DCCC.
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