What is the Red to Blue Program?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

The Red to Blue Program is a program sponsored by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), with the goal of supporting targeted political campaigns for maximum effect on American politics. As the name implies, the Red to Blue Program focuses on Democratic Congressional candidates who are running against Republican incumbents or going after open seats in traditionally Republican communities. During each election cycle, a specific set of candidates is selected by the DCCC and heavily promoted under the program in the hopes that this will secure their seats.

The Red to Blue Program focuses on Democrats running against Republicans.
The Red to Blue Program focuses on Democrats running against Republicans.

In order to be chosen for the Red to Blue Program, a candidate must meet several criteria. He or she must have a clear, articulate agenda which strongly supports middle class values and genuine political change, and the candidate must also demonstrate fundraising power. In addition, the DCCC considers the outcomes of past elections and the statistical information available to decide which candidates could best benefit from support; in some areas, for example, a Democratic candidate is simply unlikely to win no matter what, so it's better to focus on a region where the race will be tight.

When candidates are chosen, they are entitled to extra funding, strategy sessions, and communications support from the DCCC. These Democrats often benefit a great deal from their support, as the DCCC reaches Democrats and voters with Democratic value all over the United States. In regions which are traditionally Democratic, like the San Francisco Bay Area, activists can choose to donate money to Red to Blue Program candidates anywhere in the United States, thereby contributing to the election in a way which might make a real difference, and benefiting an otherwise unknown candidate.

Red to Blue Program candidates are highlighted in DCCC materials and on their website, and the DCCC also partners with other political organizations to spotlight its chosen candidates. The candidates themselves may also reference the Red to Blue Program in their campaign materials, with some promoting fellow politicians in the program in order to expose as many people as possible to the chosen candidates; given restrictions on political donations to individual candidates, this is often appreciated by fellow candidates in the program.

In any given election cycle, the list of Red to Blue candidates can be found on the DCCC website, or it can be obtained by calling the DCCC directly. For people who work with activist organizations which are aligned with Democratic values, these groups may also have a listing of Red to Blue candidates, along with recommendations for how to allocate donations, for those who have limited funds to offer.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


Growing the party base is something that both parties struggle with. On the right, republicans struggle to move beyond being a party of older white males. They have little appeal with minorities and women.

On the flip side, Democrats often rely on a voting base that is notoriously unreliable. Lower income people face significant obstacles to voting. Young people are fickle about voting. Immigrants are often scared or misinformed about voting. The democrat party will needs to move beyond such an unstable base if it wants to have continued electoral success.

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