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Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

One congressman aiming to lead the House Democrats' campaign committee wants to do away with a ban against political consultants who worked for candidates that challenged the party's appointed picks.

Why it matters: As Democrats assess unexpected losses last month and the shortcomings of their digital operations, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney says House members must regroup and field their best players before crucial 2022 midterms.

  • The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ban "separated ourselves from some of the most creative and diverse people working in politics, particularly in the area of digital and social media," Maloney said in an interview with Axios.

The big picture: The election for DCCC chair will be held at the end of this week. The winner must keep an emboldened left-wing flank happy while fighting off historical trends under which Democrats lose House seats in the midterms.

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez encouraged small-dollar donors to "pause" their donations to the DCCC and started her own PAC to support progressive challengers after the vendor policy became official.
  • The website for her group explicitly called out the DCCC: "When community leaders, activists and working-class candidates try to run for office, organizations like the DCCC discourage them."
  • Some members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus withheld their DCCC dues for several weeks in protest.

What he's saying: During his interview, Maloney said, "I think that consultant ban needs to be completely re-examined, because it has had unintended consequences, even as we should always reassert the principle of defending our own members."

  • He also wants Democrats to move away from the "flawed" polling they've used over the last few cycles and shift to emphasize qualitative analysis through more focus groups, voter interviews and "quicker, cheaper, better" digital surveys.

Last week Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) who’s also running for DCCC chair, told "Axios on HBO" he wants to see the DCCC change "overnight" and that Democrats need to be more "culturally competent" with Latino voters if they want to be successful.

  • Maloney said he plans to “elevate Latinas at the DCCC" — like Reps. Veronica Escobar and Linda Sánchez — if elected, "and improve our cultural competence as we look to communicate with many different Latino communities around the country."
  • But it's not just Latinos: Maloney emphasized the power of Black voters and female voters. He offered Stacey Abrams' work in Georgia as a model for what the DCCC can do at the congressional level.
  • "We should deploy them in the districts where we need to win, which ought to be easier, frankly, than doing it in a big state like Georgia."

The other side: The rule earned praise from more moderate Democrats — those more likely to face primary challengers to their left — and from many members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Don’t forget: After Democrats lost the White House in 2016, Maloney spent five months to produce an election autopsy aimed at telling his House colleagues how they could improve their fortunes in 2018.

Go deeper

New tool watches for voter purges ahead of Georgia runoffs

Screenshot of VoteFlare website. Photo: Axios

A new tool lets voters in Georgia sign up for automatic notifications of any sudden changes to their voting status that could prevent them from casting ballots in the pivotal Jan. 5 runoffs that will determine party control of the Senate.

Driving the news: VoteFlare.org, a site created by Harvard University's Public Interest Tech Lab, went live Friday.

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Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.

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Biden-Harris, Day 1: What mattered most

President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden arrive at the North Portico of the White House. Photo: Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

The Axios experts help you sort significance from symbolism. Here are the six Day 1 actions by President Biden that matter most.

Driving the news: Today, on his first full day, Biden translates his promise of a stronger federal response to the pandemic into action — starting with 10 executive orders and other directives, Caitlin Owens writes.