Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Californians in House leadership: one keeps his post, another hopes to move up

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Now that Nancy Pelosi has said she wants to stay on as House Democratic leader, other party members are assessing their standing. On Wednesday, another Californian formally launched his campaign to move up the leadership ladder. 

L.A. Congressman Xavier Becerra is currently the fifth-ranking Democrat in the House. Now he’s sent a formal letter to colleagues, throwing his hat in the ring for the number four spot — Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. Becerra says relationships are the key to advancement: "It’s developing the friendships that let you get to the  point where you can actually ask for a vote."

Becerra has several things going for him: Pelosi is one of his biggest fans. And a quarter of the freshman Democratic class comes from his home state. "The more Californians there are," says Becerra, "the greater opportunity I have to try to have them be with me, supportive of me."

Oh, and one more thing going for Becerra: so far, he’s the only one running for the job. The position of Caucus Chair opened up because Connecticut Congressman John Larson was termed out of leadership. Democrats vote on leadership after the Thanksgiving break. 

On the GOP side, Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy was re-elected Wednesday as the third most powerful House Republican. He says it's "an honor to serve one more time as Whip," adding that his party's majority is "a little smaller, but it is still the second largest Republican majority since World War II."


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