A top official in the Democratic National Committee is out in less than a year on the job after the party continued to struggle financially, something that many top Democrats have warned will cause significant problems for them in the 2018 midterms.
Jess O'Connell, the former EMILY's List Executive Director, took over the DNC as CEO in May 2017 after the party endured multiple special election losses to the Republicans and as Clinton-loyalist Tom Perez took over as the new chairman, NBC News reported.
O'Connell's decision is reportedly "a personal one," NBC reports, citing an unnamed DNC official. The timing was intended to "cause minimal disruption ahead of November's midterm elections," but NBC notes that it comes on the heels of the DNC booting its finance director "following a period of weak fundraising, as well as a shakeup last year that reignited tensions with Sanders' allies."
O'Connell's departure comes just two days after a report highlighting the deep concern felt by Democrats across the country over the party's lack of funding and how that could stifle any momentum they think they might have heading into the 2018 midterms. Politico reports:
At a time when many Democratic candidates and groups are reporting record-breaking fundraising, the top state party officials gathered here for the meeting of the Association of State Democratic Committees say their local parties are cash-starved, raising the prospect that they won’t be able to take full advantage of what could be a historic opportunity in the midterm elections.
Much of their frustration is directed toward the Democratic National Committee, which recently started doling out nearly $1 million worth of competitive grants to a handful of states. While the first round of so-called State Party Innovation Fund grants were a welcome move, the state leaders who failed to score them were left to stew over their predicament.
Even left-wing CNN — recently named the most divisive media company in the U.S. — has admitted that the DNC's fundraising problem is "as bad as it looks," noting that October's fundraising was the lowest in 15 years.
While the DNC struggles, the Republican National Committee is thriving, smashing fundraising records late last year and raising roughly twice as much money as the Democrats.