DeGette to challenge Clyburn for No. 3 Dem spot in House

DeGette to challenge Clyburn for No. 3 Dem spot in House
© Keren Carrion
Rep. Diana DeGetteDiana Louise DeGetteDemocrats request info on Google-Ascension partnership Trump health chief declines to detail ObamaCare replacement plan A dozen House Democrats call on EU ambassador to resign amid Ukraine scandal MORE (D-Colo.) on Wednesday launched a challenge against Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) for the No. 3 spot on the Democratic leadership ladder next year.
Clyburn, who has been the third-ranking Democrat since 2006, announced Tuesday night that he wants to keep that post in the Democrats’ newly won majority — meaning he would become the majority whip.
DeGette, an 11-term lawmaker who’s served as chief deputy whip for more than a decade, is touting her experience and “legislative savvy” as reasons why Democrats should promote her to the whip position.
“The Whip must empower each member of our caucus to serve as a full partner, bringing his or her energy, passion, and expertise together with others’ to meet our common goals,” she wrote Wednesday in a letter to Democrats. “It will also require the institutional knowledge and legislative savvy to go toe-to-toe with Senate Republicans and the White House.”
DeGette is also highlighting gender issues, following a midterm cycle in which Democrats were propelled to victory largely on the wings of female candidates and voters.
“Our return to the majority was powered by women voters across the country, and we need to repay their trust by adding women to Democrats’ leadership team,” she said. “As we add even more women to our ranks in Congress—largely because of Democratic candidates—our caucus should reflect this strength, including at the leadership table.”
DeGette faces a tough road to dislodge Clyburn, who enjoys broad support within the caucus and is a leading member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) — a group of almost 50 lawmakers who will likely back him near-universally.
Clyburn was the majority whip when Democrats controlled the House between 2007 and 2011, and said Tuesday night that he’ll pursue the spot again in the next Congress. He joins Reps. Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans On The Money: Falling impeachment support raises pressure for Dems on trade | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Biden eyes minimum tax for corporations | Fed's top regulator under pressure over Dodd-Frank rules Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Virginia moves to suspend Medicaid work rules | Powerful House panel sets 'Medicare for All' hearing | Hospitals sue over Trump price rule | FDA official grilled on vaping policy MORE (D-Calif.) and Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDemocrats debate scope of impeachment charges Hoyer on impeachment: 'This is not driven by polls' Live coverage: Witnesses say Trump committed impeachable offenses MORE (D-Md.) in the push to keep the top leadership structure intact.
“I think you’ll see Nancy Pelosi remain No. 1, Steny No. 2, and hopefully I’ll remain No. 3,” Clyburn said Tuesday night.
Standing in the way of the top leaders is a group of detractors pressing to remove the top brass for the sake of launching a new direction for the party. Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn are all approaching 80 years old, and a newer crop of lawmakers is growing increasingly restless in their pursuit of cracking the leadership ranks.
A number of those insurgent Democrats are likely to side with DeGette, 61, in her challenge of Clyburn, 78.
Updated at 1 p.m.