Sánchez announces bid for Democratic Caucus chair

Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) is running for Democratic Caucus chair, becoming the primary lawmaker to officially type in the race since current chairman Joe Crowley’s surprise primary loss a few weeks ago.

Sánchez, currently Democratic Caucus vice-chair, made the announcement within a letter circulated to colleagues Tuesday. Sánchez praised Crowley (D-N.Y.) in their letter, calling it an “honor” to partner with him since she was elected vice-chair in 2016.

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“I am encouraged because of the conversations I’ve had with a lot of members about continuing that actually work, exactly what pleased to announce which will run for House Democratic Caucus Chair with the 116th Congress,” she wrote in the letter obtained by POLITICO.

The eight-term Democrat’s entrance in to the race is not really unexpected. Sánchez states since Crowley’s primary defeat at the end of June she was available to the thinking behind running and believed she had turn into a good fit for your role.

But by announcing before anybody, Sánchez is signaling with members which have privately expressed involvement in the post which the race starts now, months prior to a caucus meets at the end of November or early December to vote on its leaders.

“If the American people instill their trust in House Democrats, we have to show them that we’re willing to lead on day one,” Sánchez wrote. “However, it really is clear that in case we delay until pick up to get these discussions it will be already happening. We’ve got to prepare now.”

As no. 5 House Democrat, Sánchez is probable best positioned outside the gate to secure the chairmanship post. She’s been campaigning with Democratic candidates and fundraising in the current leadership role and has now a whip operation that had been in place prior to Crowley’s unexpected loss.

As a former chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus as well as highest-ranking Latina in Congress, she’s also planning to develop the support of your 31-member group if nothing else CHC member enters the race. Sánchez is usually close to the "Pennsylvania Corner" – a tight-knit, influential pair of House Democrats within the Northeast Corridor.

Crowley praised Sánchez inside a statement Tuesday afternoon but notably couldn’t offer his endorsement.

"Linda Sánchez is usually a dear friend, a battle-tested member, as well as a fierce advocate for working families," Crowley said. "She actually is an exceptionally valuable part of the Democratic leadership team and has now a good chance inside our caucus."

Sánchez may face serious competition to do the job, specifically caucus’ longtime leaders – Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Assistant Minority Leader Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) – are going to collect their posts for another term.

Sánchez has openly essential a leadership overhaul for months, saying it is time for a generational change on top of the caucus.

Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn are typical inside their late 70s and possess visited their jobs for more than a decade. Because of this, there have been little chance younger members to transfer from the caucus aside from the lower rungs of leadership.

Frustration on the static at the very top has long been simmering inside the caucus for many years. Just this morning, several members led a push to obstruct leadership elections until nearly per month as soon as the November midterms – enough time, feasibly, for anyone inside caucus to mount an issue to Pelosi.

“I believe that having the top three leadership of identical generation – There’s no doubt that the time is right for this generational change,” Sánchez told reporters a week ago, reiterating comments she first made last October.

“I try to be section of that transition since i don’t wish to relax in Congress until I’m in my 70s,” she added.

Sánchez hinted in her letter that she’ll have more to convey from the coming weeks about her tips on tips on how to give members the opportunity to move up in the caucus speedier.

“I am glad we’ve started to have conversations about how exactly the Caucus should function to supply every member increased opportunities,” Sánchez wrote, asking her colleagues to go on to show ideas “for the future of the caucus.”

“We should have open and honest dialogue making sure that we’re able to have a clear, progressive roadmap with the 116th Congress,” she added.

Rep. Barbara Lee, a fellow California Democrat who ran against Sánchez in 2016 for that vice-chair job, has now said she’s likely to run for Crowley’s spot. Lee lost to Sánchez in 2016 by two votes. Lee wouldn’t inquire into Sánchez’s bid when asked by reporters Tuesday.

Several other up-and-coming members, including Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), are actually floated as potential candidates to the caucus chair position. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), current chairman of House Democrats’ campaign arm including a new member with the CHC, have been mentioned by a few Democrats too.

Interest while in the job is high. Rarely does top-notch spot open up internally Democratic leadership. Pelosi and Hoyer have held the absolutely no. 1 with zero. 2 jobs for almost 16 years. And the majority of caucus chairmen start further on the leadership chain and spend years working their up.

Crowley, such as tried for decades to break into your leadership hierarchy before he was finally elected vice-chair next year. He served for the reason that position for four years before assuming the No. 4 leadership spot in 2016 after then-chairman Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) was term-limited away from the job.

If elected, Sánchez would be the first female House Democratic Caucus chair ever sold.

John Bresnahan triggered this report.

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