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Cummings Vs. Maloney Splits Congressional Black Caucus

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Rep. Carolyn Maloney has seniority over Rep. Elijah Cummings on the Oversight and Government Reform panel. The two are squaring off to be the committee’s ranking member.

Cummings said that despite the concern, he’s gotten support from several CBC members.

“They’ve told me how they feel about me. And remember, I used to be chairman of the CBC,” Cummings said. “They know me. They know what I stand for. At the same time, it’s not just the CBC. I have a broad base of support.”

CBC members Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said they support Cummings. Conyers, a past chairman of the Oversight panel, said Cummings is the strongest person for the job.

“I just think Cummings would be a much more powerful force,” Conyers said. “As past chairman, I know the power of that committee is tremendous.”

Rep. G.K. Butterfield also pointed to Cummings’ strength in fending off Republican attacks as a key reason he backs Cummings.

The North Carolina Democrat said Tuesday night that it is important for a member of the CBC to maintain the position and that Cummings has the right background to go toe-to-toe with Issa.

“He’ll be able to stand formidably” against Issa, Butterfield said.

Other CBC members, including Reps. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), said they had not made up their minds yet.

Maloney has been furiously whipping votes for the position, arguing that her seniority, gender and record fighting for Democratic values qualify her for the job.

Tuesday evening, Maloney chased down Rep. Tim Walz to try to get his vote, shouting “Walz! Walz!”

The Minnesota Democrat told Roll Call Wednesday he remains undecided but noted that Maloney was helpful with a railroad issue in Minnesota earlier in his career.

In a brief interview, Maloney noted her seniority and the fact that she had endorsed Towns before he dropped out.

“I’m a fighter,” she said, highlighting her record on core party principles.

She said her credit card bill of rights is saving consumers $10 billion a year, and Wall Street firms poured more than $1 million into her opponent’s campaign to defeat her.

As Democrats prepare to have new leadership on the powerful Oversight panel after two years under Towns, it is still unclear why he decided to walk away just a day before it appeared he had secured the job.

“This is a decision I made based on my own personal situation at this particular time,” Towns said.

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