WASHINGTON (AP) — Maryland congressman Steny Hoyer has made it official: He's running to keep his position as the Democrats' second-in-command next year.
The announcement Monday sets up a showdown with Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, the most senior black office holder in the Democratic caucus. But it's not clear the contest will last long.
The confrontation is one Democrats have been hoping to avoid, and there is talk that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who wants to remain leader of her party even in the minority, might create a leadership position for whoever drops out of the race.
Both men have been working the phones to line up support since the midterm elections delivered the House majority to Republicans.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus said Monday that Rep. James Clyburn, the highest ranking African-American in the House Democratic leadership, should be the vanquished party's second in command in the next Congress.
"Jim has spent a lifetime working to bridge what divides us," Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., wrote in a letter urging the Democratic Caucus to vote for the South Carolina Democrat. "In the 112th Congress, we will need Jim's dedication to thwart Republican efforts to repeal all of the progress we have made."
Lee's letter comes after Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland released the names of 30 rank-and-file Democrats who endorsed him for the same post. Hoyer's letter, authored by Rep. Linda Sanchez of California, praised him as a listener with the ability to stand up to Republicans.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she would seek the top Democratic job of minority leader, which set up a race between Clyburn, currently the No. 3 as Democratic Whip, and Hoyer, the No. 2 as House Majority leader. Whatever the outcome of that race, House Democrats could see the same leadership roster that was ousted from power in last week's midterm elections.
Not all members of the CBC were falling in line behind Clyburn. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill., released a statement on the Hoyer-Clyburn race endorsing neither one.
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