Cicilline bows out of assistant leader race, paving path for Lujan

 
The move means that Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), the head of the Democrats’ campaign arm, will run unopposed to become assistant leader next year — the No. 4 spot in their newly won majority that’s being vacated by Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who’s seeking to become majority whip.
 
The move by Cicilline represented an acknowledgement that Luján, who shepherded the Democrats to sweeping midterm victories as Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chairman, deserves a spot in the higher ranks of leadership.
 
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“Like many of you, I believe that Chairman Lujan deserves a place at the leadership table after helping usher in our historic Democratic victory,” Cicilline wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter to fellow Democrats. “Since Chairman Lujan entered the race, I have been asking myself how I can continue to effectively contribute to the Democratic Caucus in an elected leadership position, while recognizing Chairman Lujan’s critical role in our success.”
 
Cicilline's decision followed the move by Rep. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosThe bottom dollar on recession, Trump's base, and his reelection prospects DCCC says it raised .85 million in May DCCC chair: Brooks retirement signals challenge for GOP women MORE (D-Ill.), co-chairwoman with Cicilline of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC), to drop out of the assistant leader race.
 
She did so shortly after Luján jumped into the contest just after the elections. Bustos is now bidding to replace the New Mexico lawmaker atop the DCCC.
 
Cicilline will now seek to become chairman of the DPCC. House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump knocks Democrats on 'Open Borders' The Hill's Morning Report - Democratic debates: Miami nice or spice? Democrats already jockeying for House leadership posts MORE (D-Calif.) announced late Tuesday that she wants to create the position in the next Congress.
 
The DPCC was launched by Pelosi in 2015. Former Rep. Steve Isreal (D-N.Y.) filled the post until his retirement in January of 2017. 
 
The spot was expanded following the Democrats’ election drubbing two years ago, with the leadership duties split between three co-chairs selected by the full caucus — an effort by Pelosi to heed calls from her restive caucus to disseminate power more widely to rank-and-file members. Cicilline, Bustos and Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesHouse Democrats close to finalizing border aid bill House hearing marks historic moment for slavery reparations debate Dems eye repeal of Justice rule barring presidential indictments MORE (D-N.Y.) currently fill those sits. 
 
On Tuesday night, Pelosi announced her intention to expand the DPCC once again, by adding a chairmanship position that would serve above the three co-chairs.
 
Several other lawmakers are already seeking to become co-chairs of the DPCC, including Reps. Matt CartwrightMatthew (Matt) Alton CartwrightHouse Dems up funding for science agencies, ignoring proposed Trump cuts Overnight Energy: Dems press Interior chief to embrace climate action | Lawmakers at odds on how to regulate chemicals in water | Warren releases climate plan for military Interior chief dismisses climate concerns in first Natural Resources hearing: 'I haven't lost any sleep over it' MORE (Pa.), Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellCalifornia official blasts EPA head over car standard negotiations Democrats grill Trump officials over fuel standard rollback On The Money: Democrats set stage for next shutdown fight | House panel wraps up final 2020 spending bill | GOP senators, White House delay meeting on spending | Trump hits Fed over high interest rates MORE (Mich.), Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralLawmakers congratulate US women's soccer team on winning opening World Cup match WHIP LIST: Number of Democrats backing Trump impeachment inquiry rises Dems charge ahead on immigration MORE (N.Y.), John GaramendiJohn Raymond GaramendiHouse panel shoots down funding, deployment of low-yield nukes in defense bill Overnight Defense: Latest on House defense bill markup | Air Force One, low-yield nukes spark debate | House Dems introduce resolutions blocking Saudi arms sales | Trump to send 1,000 troops to Poland House panel votes to restrict possible changes to Air Force One design MORE (Calif.) and Ted LieuTed W. LieuDemocrats call for restraint, oversight as Trump reportedly calls back Iranian strike Report: Iranian officials say Trump warned them attack was imminent Trump approved Iranian strike before pulling back: report MORE (Calif.), along with Rep.-elect Chrissy Houlahan (Pa.).
 
It’s unclear if any of those Democrats will seek the soon-to-be-created DPCC chairmanship slot.
 
The Democrats’ closed-door leadership elections will take place in the Capitol on Nov. 28.