Pelosi's move stymies Steny
Nancy Pelosi has once again blocked Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer from advancing to the top Democratic spot in the House of Representatives.
The first woman to serve as Speaker of the House announced this afternoon that she wants to be Minority Leader, which is the highest-ranking job she can get once she hands over the gavel to Republican Rep. John Boehner in January.
Given the left-leaning cast of the House Democratic caucus in the next Congress, she almost certainly has the votes she needs already. And that could leave Hoyer in second place, again.
The southern Maryland congressman, who lost to Pelosi in a pivotal leadership battle nine years ago, was regarded as heir apparent--if his longtime rival stepped down.
Instead, he's likely to run for the same spot he's been in since 2006, the second-ranking Democrat in the House. That position, of course, won't be worth nearly as much as his current job as Majority Leader, since Republicans will be in charge.
Hoyer's likely new job title: Minority Whip, the same post Pelosi held when she started her climb up the leadership ladder by besting Hoyer in 2001 (and which Hoyer had soon after, when Pelosi moved up again).
The Marylander might have to wage a fight for the post, however.
Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the Majority Whip, has already announced his candidacy for Minority Whip. It's always possible that another spot in the leadership will be found for Clyburn, averting a messy contest between Hoyer and the highest ranking African-American in Congress.
Hoyer responded to Pelosi's announcement with a statement that he is "exploring" a run for Minority Whip. An aide confirmed that Hoyer is supporting Pelosi for Minority Leader.
Full text of Hoyer's statement after the jump.
Speaker Pelosi has announced that she will be running for Democratic Leader in the next Congress.
In the days since the election, I have received an outpouring of support from Democratic colleagues who have told me that I should remain in our party’s leadership, so that our Caucus can hit the ground running with a strong, tested leadership team.
Over the next several days, I will continue to speak to my colleagues about serving our Caucus as Democratic Whip, and I will announce a decision after I have consulted with them.