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

DeGette to challenge Clyburn for No. 3 Dem spot in House
© Keren Carrion
 
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.
 
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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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiGraham backs bill to protect Mueller Clyburn says some critics are using race to oppose his leadership bid Congress can unite on global affairs MORE (D-Calif.) and Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerClyburn says some critics are using race to oppose his leadership bid New hurdle arises in Pelosi’s march to speakership 155 House Dems sign letter backing Hoyer as majority leader 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.