Rep. Anna G. Eshoo of California has won the recommendation of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee to be the next ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee — but she's not out of the water yet.
At 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, the full caucus will vote between her and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, closing the chapter on what has been the most fraught committee leadership race of the cycle. Members and aides say they expect the faceoff to be nail bitingly close. On Tuesday afternoon, she beat him by 30-19, which was a less dramatic lead than many of Pallone's supporters had anticipated: The Steering and Policy Committee is stacked with appointments by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who has been working tirelessly on behalf of Eshoo, her closest friend and fellow Californian.
Pallone needed at least 14 votes inside Steering and Policy to force a runoff in the full caucus, where he stands a chance of prevailing over Eshoo. In a sign his supporters were concerned about the possibility that he might not clear that threshold, they had a contingency plan ready: A letter signed by 53 House Democrats asking for a second vote. A member who fails to win a Steering and Policy recommendation and the necessary 14 votes can still get a full caucus buy-in by presenting 50 signatures from colleagues.
"On to caucus!" is the Pallone camp's rallying cry.
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