Newly-elected House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) has blessed the elevation of a top aide to former speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to lead the House Majority PAC, the principal outside group that funds ads for Democratic members of Congress.
The elevation of Mike Smith, a senior adviser to Pelosi in the last cycle, who also advised the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and HMP, will bring continuity to the party’s relationships with donors and vendors as Democrats position themselves to win back the House.
“By bringing on Mike Smith as President, House Majority PAC will ensure a smooth transition so that Democratic candidates can maximize every opportunity and we can ensure Democrats take back the House in 2024,” Jeffries said Tuesday in a statement. “House Democrats are fortunate to have him in this fight.”
Many of the party’s top donors gathered Tuesday night at a Washington hotel for a celebratory dinner sponsored by the DCCC and an adjacent fundraiser for HMP, according to people involved in the planning, who requested anonymity because the events were private.
Both groups have historically worked in concert with the party’s leadership in Congress, with HMP raising money in unlimited sums from wealthy donors while the campaign committee operates under stricter campaign finance limits. Republicans have a similar fundraising structure, with the National Republican Congressional Committee and a tangent super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, both working with House GOP leaders to win elections.
Democrats have also been discussing plans to have both Jeffries and Pelosi travel to fundraisers around the country in the coming weeks, said multiple people familiar with the plans. Pelosi, 82, has adopted the title “speaker emerita,” and has said she will remain a supportive member of the caucus without a formal leadership role during her current term.
HMP spent nearly $181 million to support Democratic House candidates in the 2022 cycle, after attracting unregulated donations from some of the biggest donors in Democratic politics, including more than $20 million from former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg.
HMP’s current president, Alixandria Lapp, who founded the group in 2011 and has led it since, plans to step down in the coming weeks.
“We have provided an important and necessary counterbalance to Republican outside spending and helped elect a huge number of fantastic Democrats to Congress,” she said in a statement. “Those Democrats have made their districts and America a better place.”
Smith has previously worked as a deputy executive director at the DCCC and as political and finance director for Pelosi. He was a deputy national finance director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
“Mike follows a strong tradition started by founding president Ali Lapp, to whom I extend my personal deep gratitude for her extraordinary leadership in achieving so many Democratic successes,” Pelosi said in a statement Tuesday. “With Mike Smith leading House Majority PAC and Leader Hakeem Jeffries at the helm of our Caucus, Democrats are ready to retake the House in 2024!”