Barbara Lee expected to announce bid for House Democratic Caucus chair

Barbara Lee expected to announce bid for House Democratic Caucus chair
© Greg Nash


Barbara Lee announces bid for Democratic Caucus chair

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Rep. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Top contender for Biden Defense chief would be historic pick Overnight Defense: 5 US service members killed in international peacekeeping helicopter crash in Egypt | Progressives warn Biden against Defense nominee with contractor ties | Trump executive order to ban investment in Chinese military-linked companies MORE (D-Calif.) is mounting a bid for House Democratic Caucus chair, the No. 4 Democratic position in the chamber.

If she secures the post, Lee would be the first African-American woman in either party to hold a House leadership post.

"When you look at the history of the Democratic Party and the Democratic leadership, African-American women ... we’ve been the backbone of the Democratic Party — we should be in the face of leadership also," she told Politico in an interview.

The House Democratic Caucus chair post is currently held by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.). His unexpected primary loss last month to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old first-time candidate, means his leadership position will be up for grabs later this year.


Lee will face Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.), who announced her bid for the post last week. Sánchez edged out Lee by two votes in 2016 to become caucus vice chair.

Lee is expected to formally announce her candidacy in a letter to congressional colleagues on Monday, according to Politico, which obtained a copy of the letter.

"The strength of our caucus lies in our diversity of experiences and ideas," the letter reads. "Whether it’s working across the aisle to enact HIV/AIDS laws, or bringing the Sanders and Clinton campaigns together behind a cohesive and progressive Democratic platform, my career has been dedicated to finding common ground and delivering results."

Lee has served in Congress since 1998. She gained national attention in 2001 when she became the only member of Congress to vote against the authorization for the use of force after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

— This report was updated at 12:05 p.m.