Luján Jumping in Assistant Democratic Leader Race, Creating 3-Way Contest

Reps. Cheri Bustos and David Cicilline are also running for the No. 4 leadership slot

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., is running for assistant Democratic leader. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Outgoing Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján announced a bid for assistant Democratic leader Wednesday, creating a three-way race for the incoming majority’s No. 4 leadership slot.

The New Mexico Democrat is running against Reps. Cheri Bustos of Illinois and David Cicilline of Rhode Island in the caucus’s first contested election for the assistant leader post. 

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi created the position for James E. Clyburn after Democrats lost the majority in 2010 so he would not find himself pushed out of leadership. The position was an appointed role until the caucus voted in 2016 to make it an elected post. 

Luján could have an edge in the race after his efforts at the DCCC helped the party reclaim the House majority. But Bustos and Cicilline, co-chairs of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, were also active in campaigning on behalf of Democratic candidates and are well liked among the caucus. The race will likely be tight. 

Other contested leadership races have formed for majority whip and Democratic Caucus chair and vice chair. 

So far no one has announced plans to challenge Pelosi for speaker or Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer for majority leader. 

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