Feb. 8, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

James Clyburn Looks to Ascend in Leadership

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Clyburn spokesman Patrick Devlin said, “Right now, Mr. Clyburn is traveling all over the country to support Democratic Members and candidates and the President so we can end the Do-Nothing Republican Congress and get back to work on behalf of all the American people, and he looks forward to continuing to serve in Leadership in the next Congress.”

CBC Chairman Cleaver said he had talked to Clyburn about his intentions but couldn’t reveal what Clyburn said. 

“Obviously, we all are interested in Jim Clyburn continuing in a leadership role if he so chooses,” Cleaver said. “There may be some additional CBC members to seek leadership roles. At this point, it is accurate to say that we have not put into play a strategy to secure more leadership slots. We will meet on the first Wednesday when we return, and it’s safe to say that that will be high up on our agenda.”

Of course, the top of the leadership team could remain stable if Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn stay on. Since Pelosi pushed back the date of the leadership elections, driving rampant speculation about her future, that discussion has died down considerably, with many Democrats expressing a belief that she will stay on after all. 

The CBC still has a stake in the campaign for Caucus vice chairman, where Rep. Joe Crowley (N.Y.) is the frontrunner against Reps. Jared Polis (Colo.) and Barbara Lee (Calif.), the latter of whom is a CBC member. 

While Cleaver said the “overwhelming majority” of the CBC’s 43 members would back Lee, race might not be a driving factor in the race. 

First, because of Lee’s “late entry, some CBC members had made commitments to other candidates,” Cleaver said, declining to answer whom he himself was backing.

Second, Crowley declined to challenge Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.) for Caucus vice chairman in 2009, nominating him for the post in part to increase the diversity of the leadership team. 

Third, Crowley supported CBC Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) through Rangel’s painful ethics scandals, which could garner him loyalty from CBC members.

Butterfield, co-chairman of Lee’s bid for Caucus vice chairman, focused instead on the position of women in the leadership team in a recent interview with Roll Call. 

“I don’t want an all-male leadership team. I mean, if we were to have, let’s say, Pelosi’s gone, if we had Steny Hoyer and [James Clyburn] and Xavier Becerra and Joe Crowley, that would be an all-male team. And that’s not a good idea. I think our Democratic Caucus is more diverse than that,” Butterfield said.

There are other options to add CBC Members to the leadership ranks beyond the top elected positions, including on the Steering and Policy Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee leadership team. 

Reps. Cedric Richmond (La.), Karen Bass (Calif.) and Terri Sewell (Ala.) were named as promising CBC members who could represent the group in leadership in years to come.

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