Democrat launches bid for assistant leader

Democrat launches bid for assistant leader
© Greg Nash
 
Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineForeign Affairs chairman: US military intervention in Venezuela 'not an option' Greedy tort bar tarts up the CREATES Act Whitaker takes grilling from House lawmakers MORE (D-R.I.) on Thursday launched a bid to become the assistant Democratic leader in the next Congress, the latest in a slow trickle of ambitious lawmakers who’ve announced efforts to advance into the higher ranks of the party brass following November’s midterm elections.
 
The announcement is not a direct challenge to any current leader, as Cicilline is hinging his campaign on whether the Democrats are successful in capturing control of the House next year. In that case, the current assistant leader, Rep. Jim ClyburnJames (Jim) Enos ClyburnBiden speaking to Dems on Capitol Hill as 2020 speculation mounts: report Former FCC Dem to advise T-Mobile, Sprint on merger Clyburn: Dems did not rush to judgment over BuzzFeed report MORE (D-S.C.), is expected to seek a higher spot, leaving the assistant leader seat open. 
 
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Cicilline is the first to announce publicly his interest in the post, though he is not expected to go unopposed. If successful, he would be the fourth-ranking House Democrat under a Democratic majority.
 
The four-term Cicilline is the first openly gay member of the leadership, having been elected in 2016 as one of three co-chairs of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC). He was formerly the mayor of Providence, R.I., and has been on the front lines of the Democratic efforts to rein in gun violence and overhaul the campaign finance system.
 
In a letter to colleagues, Cicilline, 57, presented himself as a feisty defender of Democratic ideals with the executive experience to cut deals and get things done. 
 
“In Committee and on the Floor, I've proven that I can go toe-to-toe with the other side of the aisle and that I won't back down,” Cicilline wrote. “As a former mayor of a major city, I have the skills that are necessary to build coalitions and deliver results. And as one of only six openly LGBT members of the House, I believe it is crucial that our leadership team represent and reflect the diversity and strength of the Democratic Party.”
 
With his letter, Cicilline joins a short list of House Democrats who have announced their interest in new leadership posts next year. 
 
Reps. Linda SanchezLinda Teresa Sánchez Hispanic Dems announce task forces for 116th Congress Dem added to Ways and Means Committee amid desire for more Hispanic members House Dems worry about lack of women of color in leadership MORE (D-Calif.) and Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeKamala Harris shopping trip stirs Twitter campaign trail debate Newsom endorses Kamala Harris for president Hispanic civil rights icon endorses Harris for president MORE (D-Calif.) are vying to replace Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), who was ousted in a shocking primary contest earlier this year. And Reps. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkHouse Dems rallying behind border deal with 55 miles of barriers Pelosi, Dem leaders urge Omar to apologize for 'anti-Semitic' tweet Trump, Dems have reasons to work together, but tensions are boiling over MORE (D-Mass.) and Peter Aguilar (D-Calif.) are both seeking the caucus vice-chairmanship, which is currently held by Sanchez.
 
Many other lawmakers are not ruling out the possibility of launching their own campaigns to enter the leadership ranks — a topic of particular interest amid growing calls within the Caucus for generational change at the top of the party. Most of those lawmakers, however, appear to be awaiting the outcome of November’s elections before finalizing those decisions.