Rep. Joe Crowley (N.Y.) has been quietly assembling an A-list team in his unannounced bid for vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus.
Rep. Anna Eshoo (Calif.), a close confidante of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), is a co-chairwoman of Crowley's campaign, a strong signal that Pelosi is at least unopposed to Crowley ascending into leadership.
Rep. Mike Thompson (Calif.), who is also a co-chairman, told Roll Call that Crowley is a "hard worker, Member's Member and interested in our issues." Pelosi, Eshoo and Thompson have served together for years in their capacities representing the San Francisco Bay Area.
For the vice chairmanship, which can be a key steppingstone to more powerful positions, Crowley is up against Rep. Jared Polis (Colo.) and, potentially, Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.), according to Democratic sources.
A spokesman for Polis, who is engaged in a brutal fundraising schedule and is chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Red to Blue program, said the Colorado lawmaker is consumed with campaigning for new Democratic Congressional seats, not a spot at the leadership table.
"Jared's focus is helping to elect a Democratic House majority, not who may or may not run for leadership. He is working hard to arm candidates across the country with the resources, strategy and messaging that will win this November," Polis spokesman Chris Fitzgerald said.
A spokeswoman for Lee did not return a request for comment.
Thompson said he was surprised at the breadth of support at a meeting hosted by Crowley several weeks ago.
"I went to one of his early meetings, and I walked in, I was surprised. I didn't think he'd had enough time to put that wide range of supporters together. It was very impressive. If the election were held that day, he walks away with it," Thompson said.
"And it was a group that was diverse. There were a number of different people there representing, I believe, different sides of the proverbial makeup of the party," Thompson said.
Rep. David Scott (Ga.), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Reps. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) and Tim Ryan (Ohio), both outspoken progressives, are also co-chairmen for Crowley.
"Congressman Crowley's focus right now is on helping Leader Pelosi and [DCCC Chairman Steve Israel] win back the majority, and he's working hard to make that a reality," a Crowley staffer said.
In 2006, Crowley fell short in a bid for Caucus vice chairman.
At that time, Rep. John Larson (Conn.), the current Caucus chairman, beat out Crowley and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.).