DeGette drops challenge to Clyburn in Dem leadership race

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.) has dropped her challenge against Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) to become the third-ranking House Democrat in the next Congress, citing the “internal pressure” facing her supporters to keep the current leadership team intact.
 
“Since my announcement, I have been heartened by the backing I have received across the caucus,” she said in a statement. “Over the past few days, however, many of my supporters have expressed concern about the pressure they are receiving to return the three senior leaders to their posts without opposition. 
 
“We have enough work to do without this internal pressure.”
 
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DeGette’s candidacy had been ensnared in a great deal of controversy since the 11-term lawmaker entered the race for the majority whip spot after the midterms. Clyburn is a prominent member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and many members of the group were openly indignant that he was the only leader, among the top three, to face a challenge this year.
 
Following an election cycle where minority voters and candidates played a major role in the Democrats’ success, CBC leaders argued, the party should have more diversity in the top ranks, rather than challenges that could result in less.
 
“Out of the three of the leadership positions, he’s the only one with announced opposition. He’s the only person of color [among the top three],” Rep. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondTwo former Congressional Black Caucus chairmen back Biden Election security funds caught in crosshairs of spending debate Lawmakers weigh responses to rash of ransomware attacks MORE (D-La.), chairman of the CBC, told reporters last week. “I just think it’s offensive and insulting.”
 
DeGette rejected those criticisms outright. A chief deputy whip for more than a decade, she said she was simply ready to take those skills to a higher level. 
 
“I’m in Congress to pass bills and to further the legislative agenda, and … if you want to do that you have to have 218 votes,” DeGette said last week. “I’ve always loved whipping. … I’ve been known to whip a dinner party.” 
 
Beyond racial considerations, the Democrats’ leadership contests have become enmeshed in debates about gender, regional and generational diversity at the top of the party. Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn are all septuagenarians who have been in place for more than a decade. And DeGette, 61, cited hopes for “a generational shift” in launching her initial run at the whip seat. 
 
Pelosi, who has led the Democrats since 2003, is coming under fire for the same reason. She’s facing a small but determined revolt from newer members hoping to topple her with a message that midterm voters want to shake up Washington, starting with party leaders.