Sanchez wins House Dems’ vice-chair spot by a nose

Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) has entered the Democratic leadership ranks — by the thinnest of margins.
{mosads}Sanchez on Wednesday edged out Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to win the Democrats’ vice chair position in the next Congress. The vote was a razor-thin 98-96.
The contest featured two candidates with deep core constituencies: Sanchez is the current leader of the Hispanic Caucus, while Lee is the former head of the Black Caucus. Both hail from California, eliminating any regional advantage within the Golden State delegation, which is the largest in Congress. With her win, Sanchez becomes the first woman of color in House leadership.
Four lawmakers did not vote, for reasons unclear.
Vice chair is the House Democrats’ No. 5 spot in leadership.
Sanchez will replace the current vice chairman, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), who ran uncontested Wednesday for the chairmanship spot, the fourth-ranking position being vacated by Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), who is soon to be term-limited out of the seat.
In a brief statement, Sanchez said she’s vowing to work with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and other Democratic leaders to “fight for an agenda to help every working family achieve their American Dream.”
Sanchez also praised Lee as a respected colleague and thanked her for “a spirited campaign.”
“We all value her knowledge and passion which will be critical to our success as we move forward together,” she said. “Let’s get to work.”
The vote came a few hours after Pelosi fended off a challenge from Rep. Tim Ryan, an Ohio lawmaker who’d argued that the Democrats’ leadership team, all of whom represent coastal states, needs more regional diversity if the party is ever going to broaden its appeal and win back the lower chamber.
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) left the vote echoing that message. She urged the party to abandon its “coastal myopia” and “embrace the industrial heartland.”
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