House Democrats this week will elect most of their leadership team for the 117th Congress, making choices in contested races that will determine the ideological, racial and gender balance of caucus decision-makers.
The Democratic Caucus will meet virtually Wednesday and Thursday to vote for all leadership positions, except Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair and freshman leadership representative. The DCCC election will occur the week of Nov. 30. The freshman class has yet to set a date for its election.
This week’s elections include three contested races: assistant speaker, caucus vice chair and caucus leadership representative, a position reserved for members who’ve served five terms or less.
The first contested race is for the No. 4 position of assistant speaker. It’s a two-way match between Massachusetts Rep. Katherine M. Clark, the current caucus vice chairwoman, and Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, who chairs the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. California’s Tony Cárdenas was running, but dropped out to run for DCCC chair.
The gender balance of the leadership team will rest on the outcome of the assistant speaker, caucus vice chair and caucus leadership representative elections, where women are running against men.
If Clark is elected assistant speaker, she’ll become the second-highest-ranking House Democratic woman ever behind Pelosi.
The leadership elections may also set records for LGBTQ represenatation. Cicilline, the first openly gay representative elected to leadership, would get a promotion if he wins assistant speaker. If he and Sean Patrick Maloney, who is running for DCCC chair, both prevail, there’d be a record two openly gay Democratic leaders.
Clark is campaigning on a unifying message as well, touting her recruitment and mentorship of members in swing districts and her efforts as vice chairwoman to connect different sections of the caucus.
Texas Rep. Sylvia R. Garcia is backing Clark because “she’s got a knack for bringing people together.” She is whipping votes for Clark and said many Hispanic Caucus members who backed Cárdenas will likely vote for Clark.
Lawrence said Democrats are a big-tent party, and it’s not realistic to expect or ask people to “fall in line.” Rather, she plans to find ways to “get everybody’s voice” in legislation.
It’s feasible Pelosi may find spots for the losers in the contested races, especially Clark or Cicilline.
Rep. Mark Pocan, who co-chairs the Progressive Caucus, has endorsed Clark, but said, “I wish we could have them both in different positions.”
Asked if he thinks Pelosi may fulfill that wish, the Wisconsin Democrat said, “You never know. Nancy always has a creative way of adding spots.”
Original story here.