Politics

Steny Hoyer Elected House Majority Leader

Maryland Democrat ran unopposed with 184 Democrats signed onto a letter supporting him

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., center, shakes hands with Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., as they leave the CVC Auditorium during a break in the House Democrats’ leadership elections Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. Hoyer was elected majority leader that afternoon. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Maryland Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer is returning to his old post of House majority leader next year after the Democratic Caucus on Wednesday elected him to the post by acclamation. 

Hoyer, Democrats’ longtime No. 2 leader and current minority leader, last held the majority leader title when Democrats were last in the majority from 2007 through 2010.

While he was running unopposed Wednesday, Hoyer quickly gathered enough support to head of any potential challengers, releasing a letter shortly a week after the Nov. 6 election with 155 Democrats, two-thirds of the caucus, announcing their support for him as majority leader. 

On the eve of the caucus vote Tuesday, Hoyer released an updated letter with 184 signatures, more than three-fourths of the caucus. 

The additional signatures came after one of the members opposing Nancy Pelosi’s speaker bid, Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, suggested Hoyer and South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, the No. 3 Democratic leader, should be targeted too.

Hoyer, 79, like Pelosi and Clyburn, both 78, have been targeted by some for their refusal to let go of the leadership reins to a new generation. All have suggested they’re ready to transition out of leadership soon, but haven’t specified a timeframe for doing so. 

While there’s been chatter about Hoyer being the most vulnerable of the three because he’s a white man and the caucus is increasingly growing more diverse, he solidified a strong coalition that put those rumors to rest.

A few members who signed a letter expressing opposition to Pelosi — such as Reps. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts and Kurt Schrader of Oregon and Rep.-elect Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey — signed the letter saying they support Hoyer.

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