With Republicans set to take control of the U.S. House in January, the old Democrat establishment finally collapsed upon itself, and the entire leadership team retired en masse.
Out of that wreckage has emerged a new generation of players, all quietly pre-ordained by a new Democrat establishment to avoid any nasty public displays of hostility that might rock the boat before it can be proven seaworthy.
Left behind and pushed out of sight of the new regime was Colorado Congressman Joe Neguse, who spent the last seven months traveling across the country campaigning for the number two leadership spot of Democrat Caucus Chairman.
And here we thought he was spending all that time running for reelection to serve the 2nd Congressional District.
Politico reported Friday Democrats were making sure no feathers got ruffled and that any potential conflicts among the caucus were snuffed so that Democrats would look unified.
Whether they were or not.
U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state also wanted the caucus chair spot, until she was persuaded to instead take over leadership of the more radical progressive caucus. A natural fit.
Now top Democrats are working behind the scenes to head off a showdown between Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) and Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) over (Hakeem) Jeffries’ soon-to-be-vacant post, which both of them are seeking. Discussions are ongoing about Neguse staying at House Democrats’ messaging arm instead and perhaps running for a new position as its chair, according to three people familiar with the situation.
As Neguse’s letter today confirms, the powers-that-be were successful in convincing Neguse he wanted to step away from the leadership race and continue working on the communications team.
Rep. Joe Neguse announces his intention to run for chair of the Democratic Policy & Communications Committee (DPCC), instead of going forward with his bid for Democratic Caucus Chair. He was DPCC co-chair this congress. #copolitics pic.twitter.com/HOx3R1B5vO
— Caitlyn Kim (@caitlynkim) November 21, 2022
In a letter to his colleagues Monday, Neguse wrote:
I want to thank each of you for the many thoughtful conversations about my bid for caucus chair over the past few months. After hearing your ideas and aspirations for our caucus and personally traveling to so many of your districts across 21 states over the past seven months, I’m more confident than ever in House Democrats ability to fight on behalf of the American people and the 118th Congress. However, I believe that the best way for me to serve, if given the opportunity by our caucus, would be to continue my work with the democratic policy and communications committee.
Frankly, we’re amazed Neguse travelled to 21 congressional districts campaigning for a leadership spot for seven months, and no one in the Colorado media or even his own constituents seemed to notice.
Rounding out the leadership team, Jeffries moves from caucus chair to minority leader, and U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts is slated to be minority whip.