Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) beat out Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) on Thursday for the ranking member position on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the 112th Congress, according to Democratic aides.
The Democratic Caucus voted 119-61 late Thursday in favor of the Marylander, the aide said. Cummings also won the endorsement of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee in a 33-13 vote Thursday afternoon, and the third-ranking member of the panel will leapfrog Maloney, who is No. 2, for the high-profile position.
Cummings was widely seen as the favored choice of the Democratic leadership and the White House to stand up to Chairman-designate Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), and he had the support of two powerful fellow Marylanders, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who is Assistant to the Speaker.
“I thought you did well,” Hoyer told Cummings as he patted his colleague on the back following his presentation at Thursday’s steering meeting.
Cummings has said he would make sure that Issa does not go on “fishing expeditions” to try to embarrass Democrats.
“We’ll go toe to toe on everything and hopefully be 10 steps ahead,” he said Wednesday.
The late-breaking battle between Cummings and Maloney emerged after current Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) suddenly aborted his plan to remain as the top Democrat on the panel. The race fractured the Democratic Caucus, with Congressional Black Caucus members — who support the seniority system — splitting on whether to support Cummings, a former CBC chairman.
Towns, a CBC member, threw his support behind Maloney because of her seniority on the panel.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who ranks behind Cummings on the panel, had previously announced his intention to challenge Towns for the position, but on Tuesday he announced his support for Cummings.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.