Former state Democratic executive director Andrew Whalen will try to help the Blue Dog Democrats make a come back in 2012.
Whalen, a political consultant based in Raleigh, will run the Blue Dog's political committee, trying to elect more moderate Democrats.
Blue Dog Democrats picked up seats across the country during the 2006 and 2008 elections but suffered major losses during the Republican sweep in 2010.
There are now 25 members of the Blue Dog Coalition in Congress including North Carolina's Health Shuler and Mike McIntyre. The group, which is co-chaired by Shuler, was formed in 1995. They are focused on policies advocating fiscal restraint and a strong national defense.
Among other goals, said Whalen, was to engage more moderates in the political process.
“The majority of the people out there don't get involved on a day-to-day basis,” Whalen said. “We are going to try to engage some of those voters; let them know who the Blue Dogs are, what they are doing and what actions they are taking to end the partisan gridlock.”
This is the first time, Whalen said, the Blue Dogs have tried to ramp up their operation by hiring a staff member.
Whalen said he would give up his position as director of Shuler's Third and Long PAC.
“I am thrilled to have Andrew in this position with the Blue Dogs as we move toward the 2012 elections,” Shuler said in a statement. “He will be an invaluable resource not just to my re-election efforts, but to all the Blue Dogs running across the country. He knows how to communicate with voters and win in the tough districts Blue Dogs represent.”