Democratic Whip Race Will Be Last Decided

Posted November 12, 2010 at 11:53am

Updated: 2:55 p.m.

House Democrats plan to save their most contentious race for last at next week’s leadership elections.

According to an agenda circulated to Democratic offices Friday, the order of the vote will be Caucus chairman, Minority Leader, Caucus vice chairman and then Minority Whip — the only post that, as of now, is contested.

That order is significant because the loser of the hard-fought Whip race between House Democrats’ current No. 2 and No. 3 leaders — Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) and Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) — would not be able to run for another leadership post.

House Democrats, who are slated to meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Cannon Caucus room to elect new leaders, are also scheduled to vote on a resolution organizing the Caucus in the next Congress.

Democrats are also slated to gather at noon Tuesday to discuss legislative priorities for the rest of the year.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) is running for Minority Leader, and Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.) and Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.) are running for re-election in their posts. A number of returning moderates have said they will not vote for Pelosi after last week’s heavy electoral losses, which some Democrats say are her responsibility.

Incoming and returning Members are eligible to vote in leadership races.

A Democratic aide said Friday that Members whose races are still up in the air — including four lawmakers who appear likely to lose — also could vote in leadership elections if the Caucus were to agree by unanimous consent to allow it. The four Members in question are Reps. Melissa Bean (Ill.), Bob Etheridge (N.C.), Dan Maffei (N.Y.) and Solomon Ortiz (Texas).