Pelosi Keeps Team Intact, Waits on DCCC Chairman

Posted November 16, 2004 at 5:56pm

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will reappoint three of her key allies to top Caucus posts today, but the identity of the next Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman may not be known until sometime before Christmas.

Senior leadership sources say Pelosi, who is all but guaranteed the job as leader for the 109th Congress, will largely stay the course and keep her inner circle largely intact in the next Congress.

Pelosi will again ask the Caucus to approve Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.), ranking member on Budget Committee, as the Assistant to the Minority Leader, and will name Reps. George Miller (Calif.), ranking member on Education and the Workforce, and Rosa DeLauro (Conn.) as co-chairmen of the Steering and Policy Committee.

The latter two posts do not face Member approval.

“All three of them have done a superb job, working closely with the leader. Each of them brings intelligence, experience, passion, and the ability to articulate a clear vision for Democrats,” said a Democratic leadership aide.

Spratt said that while his nomination still requires the backing from the full Caucus, he is “pleased and energized” to serve another two-year term. He said he has enjoyed the position, and the opportunity to lead his colleagues on budget and economic issues.

Pelosi faces a Caucus vote of her own today when it convenes to organize for the next Congress. She is expected to glide to another two-year term without opposition, as are Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Caucus Chairman Bob Menendez (N.J.) and Caucus Vice Chairman James Clyburn (S.C.).

Looking further ahead, Pelosi still must recommend to the Caucus the next chairman of the DCCC. Rep. Robert Matsui (Calif.) has privately indicated he doesn’t want to serve another term, leaving Pelosi to choose a successor.

The chances of Matsui agreeing to another term — even though several Members are urging him to do so — are virtually “zero,” according to a knowledgeable aide. This aide said, “stranger things have happened, but I’d be surprised.”

Sources indicated Pelosi is likely to make her DCCC decision shortly after the Louisiana runoff election on Dec. 4, and no later than the Christmas holiday.

Under consideration are: Reps. Mike Thompson (Calif.), one of Pelosi’s closest allies and the likely frontrunner, Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), a key party player and strategist, and Joseph Crowley (N.Y.), a top Democratic fundraiser. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.) had also been in the running, but indicated last week she wants her name withdrawn from consideration.

Crowley said Tuesday he hasn’t spoken to the leader and isn’t overtly campaigning for the position. Nonetheless, Crowley said he would be willing and excited to take on the job, either this cycle or in the future.

“It would be a great honor to do it,” Crowley said. “But I also look at it as a responsibility to do my part.”

Thompson said he’s grateful to hear his name floated for the position, but added that he “doesn’t know if the job is even available.” He said Matsui has “done a fantastic job” and noted that the current chairman hasn’t said publicly that he won’t serve again.

“I’m flattered both by the news reporters as well as my colleagues that they think I can do the job and do it well,” Thompson said.