By Mike Lillis - 11/16/12 12:15 AM EST
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) has dropped his bid to join the Democratic leadership team in the 113th Congress, according to several Democratic sources.
The announcement clears the field for a run-off between Reps. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.) and Barbara Lee (Calif.) for the vice chairmanship of the House Democratic Caucus.
Polis has endorsed Crowley in that contest, the sources said.
Crowley, a member of the New Democrat Coalition and a prolific fundraiser, is thought to have the edge in the race. But Lee, a member of the Congressional Black and Progressive caucuses, said Thursday that she's keeping the contest tight.
“I consider Congressmen Crowley a friend and know that he has been running for years, but everyday I gain new support," Lee said in an email.
The vice chairman seat is being vacated by Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), who's running to fill the caucus chairman position that will open up next year with the term-limited exit of Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.).
Larson said Thursday that he'll step quietly out of leadership, focusing more attention on his duties as a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, which will play a big role in the upcoming tax and entitlement reform debates.
Crowley has run for the caucus vice chairmanship before, losing to Larson in 2006.
The Democrats' leadership elections are scheduled for Nov. 29.