Rep. Katherine M. Clark (D-Mass.), who holds a more junior leadership post, has emerged as the front-runner to win the assistant speaker race, but first must defeat Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.), a senior member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and one of the caucus’s most prominent gay lawmakers.

In September, as she launched her bid for a promotion, Clark sent a letter to all Democrats that, in retrospect, hit the precise tone for what turned out to be tumultuous political times — a Biden victory, a hung verdict in the Senate until January runoff elections in Georgia, and a House majority shrunken by close to 10 seats.

“The challenges and opportunities facing our caucus and our country are unprecedented and will require that we leverage the talent and expertise of our members, unite behind our shared values, and deliver results for all communities,” Clark wrote.

She currently serves as vice chairwoman of the caucus, the deputy to Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), who is the caucus chairman. If Clark wins, she would technically bump ahead of Jeffries, but his position comes with a bigger portfolio and a larger budget.
Jeffries and Clark have worked seamlessly together, according to both their camps, and whenever the leadership turnover comes, it would be easy to see Clark running alongside Jeffries to become majority leader — if she holds on to defeat Cicilline.

The Democratic class of 2012, which included more than 40 members, many of whom with deep ambition, continues to position its members for future power. Jeffries was elected that year, while Clark joined that group later in 2013 when she won a special election to her seat outside Boston.
...Should Clark dispatch Cicilline, some Democrats may feel inclined to support Maloney, who is gay, and if Cárdenas were to lose, that could give a boost to another Hispanic caucus member, Rep. Peter Aguilar (D-Calif.), who is running to succeed Clark as vice chairman.

If all those dominoes fell together, the ranks behind the 80-something leaders would be fairly representative of the new Democratic coalition: A Black man (Jeffries), a White woman (Clark), a Latino (Aguilar) and a gay man (Maloney).


Original story here.