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 BustosDCCC is out of step with Democratic values Climate report makes agri-business a target Farmers have to be part of climate solutions 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 PelosiWhy President Trump needs to speak out on Hong Kong Anti-Trump vets join Steyer group in pressing Democrats to impeach Trump Pelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid 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 JeffriesAnti-Trump vets join Steyer group in pressing Democrats to impeach Trump Appetite for Democratic term limits fizzling out Jeffries dismisses optics: We wanted testimony from Mueller, not Robert De Niro 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 CartwrightAssault weapons ban picks up steam in Congress The 11 House Dems from Trump districts who support assault weapons ban House Dems up funding for science agencies, ignoring proposed Trump cuts MORE (Pa.), Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellGun reform groups to pressure GOP senators with rallies in all 50 states Automakers rebuff Trump, strike fuel efficiency deal with California Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment MORE (Mich.), Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralCongressional Hispanic Caucus calls for answers on Mississippi ICE raids Congressional Hispanic Caucus members call for diversity within the Fed Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE (N.Y.), John GaramendiJohn Raymond GaramendiHouse Democrats inch toward majority support for impeachment Trump bashes Mueller for 'ineptitude,' slams 'sick' Democrats backing impeachment Pelosi denies she's 'trying to run out the clock' on impeachment MORE (Calif.) and Ted LieuTed W. LieuCities are the future: We need to coordinate their international diplomacy George Conway opposes #unfollowTrump movement Puerto Rico resignations spur constitutional crisis 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.