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Towns’ capitulation came as he was receiving pressure from Democratic leadership and the White House to step down amid concerns that he would not be able to effectively counter Issa’s expected zealous oversight, according to several Democratic leadership aides.
The White House maintains that the shake-up was an internal organizational decision made by the caucus.
“He’s talented enough to do it, but his personality is just not suited to being ranking member. It’s a knife fight every day, and he’s just a little more old-school,” one Towns ally said.
Towns’ future remains uncertain given his desire to return to the Energy and Commerce Committee. He was having a tough time securing the slot given the reduced number of positions Democrats have in the minority.
Towns took a leave of absence from the panel two years ago.
“He’s going to look to have the leadership live up to their end of the deal when he took his leave,” the Towns associate said.
Jennifer Bendery contributed to this report.