Blue Dog Hopefuls Await Picks

Posted June 11, 2007 at 5:55pm

Eight Democratic lawmakers will learn this week whether they will be admitted to the Blue Dog Coalition, which voted earlier this year to limit its membership rolls.

Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (S.D.), the organization’s whip, said Thursday that a decision could come sometime this week, but she declined to comment in detail.

The fiscally conservative Blue Dogs adopted new bylaws this year restricting the number of members it will accept to 20 percent of the size of the full Democratic Caucus in each Congress.

The group, which currently counts 43 lawmakers, is capped at 47 members for the 110th Congress. But with eight Members competing for acceptance into the organization, it remains unclear whether the coalition will lift its cap or stick to its new limits.

A Blue Dog spokeswoman declined Monday to discuss the selection process.

Among the contenders — Reps. Nancy Boyda (Kan.), Christopher Carney (Pa.), Henry Cuellar (Texas), Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.), Bart Gordon (Tenn.), Harry Mitchell (Ariz.), Nick Lampson (Texas) and Zack Space (Ohio) — several said they were still waiting on a decision Monday.

The coalition already has expanded significantly this year, growing from 34 members in the previous Congress. Recent growth is the result, in large part, of the addition of newly elected lawmakers who were vetted as “Blue Pups” in each election cycle since 1998.

While most factions within the Caucus restrict eligibility for membership, primarily through ideological requirements or ethnicity, no other high-profile group has instituted similar numerical limitations.