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

 Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineDem lawmaker: Mueller report ‘belongs to the American people’ White House braces for Mueller report Ex-GOP congressional candidate charged with wire fraud, violating election law MORE (D-R.I.) on Wednesday dropped out of the race to become the fourth-ranking Democrat in the next Congress and announced a bid to lead the party’s messaging arm instead.
 
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 BustosAssault weapons ban push tests Dem support House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 Progressives to target Dem reps in 2020 primary fights 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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiKids confront Feinstein over Green New Deal Can progressives govern? Dems plan hearing on emergency declaration's impact on military 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 JeffriesWhy Omar’s views are dangerous The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Will there be any last-minute shutdown drama? Congress hits gas on border deal 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 CartwrightPelosi runs tight ship as more stormy waters await Pelosi puts tight grip on talk of Trump impeachment Pelosi divides Democrats with term-limit proposal MORE (Pa.), Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Push for cosponsors for new 'Medicare for all' bill | Court lets Dems defend ObamaCare | Flu season not as severe as last year, CDC says Bill Clinton jokes no one would skip Dingell's funeral: 'Only time' we could get the last word Democrats seek cosponsors for new 'Medicare for all' bill MORE (Mich.), Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralHere are the lawmakers who will forfeit their salaries during the shutdown 8-year-old boy dies in CBP custody Hispanic Caucus picks Castro as its next chair MORE (N.Y.), John GaramendiJohn Raymond GaramendiDem lawmaker: 'The president has it in for California' Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Trump blasts intel officials as 'passive and naive' | Lawmakers reintroduce Yemen war powers resolution | Dems push Pentagon to redo climate report | VA proposes new rules for private health care House Armed Services Dems demand Pentagon offer more complete climate change report MORE (Calif.) and Ted LieuTed W. LieuDem lawmakers to open probe into ‘complex web of relationships’ between NRA, Russia Kamala Harris shopping trip stirs Twitter campaign trail debate Newsom endorses Kamala Harris for president 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.