The influential role of assistant speaker has attracted three lawmakers so far: Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, David Cicilline of Rhode Island, and Tony Cardenas of California. If no candidate gets 50% of the vote, there will be a second round of voting between the top two candidates.

The role is currently held by Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, who was elected to the Senate this month. 

House Democratic Caucus Vice-Chair Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) is running for assistant speaker.

Clark and Cicilline are currently members of the leadership team. Clark, now caucus vice chair, helped Democrats take back the House in 2018 as vice-chair for recruitment and co-chair of the “Red to Blue” program at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The position meant she was an early ally for dozens of moderate Democrats elected in 2018.

Clark, who announced her candidacy in September, is the only woman running, which she said is important to other members. 

“Women’s leadership is critically important at this time,” Clark said in an interview. “No woman besides Pelosi has risen into the top four positions in our caucus, and I think people are looking for that.”

Cicilline, who also launched his bid in September, leads the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, which develops messaging lawmakers use to promote legislation and communicate with voters. He ran for assistant speaker in 2018 but dropped out shortly after Luján, who’d been chairman of the campaign arm, entered the race. 

Both Cicilline and Clark are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) is running for assistant speaker. 

Cardenas, who was the first to announce his candidacy in August, previously held the role of Democratic Caucus representative for members who’ve served five terms or less, in the 115th Congress. He’s chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus PAC, which supports campaigns of Hispanic House candidates and other Democrats. 

In his announcement to run, Cardenas appealed to the importance of diversity, noting without Luján there would be no Latinos in leadership. 


Original story here.