Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), an architect of the campaign that won the Democrats the House, is putting in a bid to become the number four leader in House, with his selection by his colleagues virtually assured. When the Democrats organize for the new Congress, Emanuel will be in line to be the Democratic Caucus Chair, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.
Emanuel is making his bid for Chair on a ticket with Rep. John Larson (D-Ct.), who will run for vice chair of the Democratic caucus. Larson is currently the vice-chair of the caucus.
In a statement, Emanuel said, "This week, the American people sent a message to
Washington: it's time for a New Direction for America.
"As the Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, I have spent the last twenty months committed to recruiting and electing candidates in every region of this country and helping bring unity
to our party. Now, we have the responsibility to carry through on the commitment of change and progress we made to the American people. And I hope to help meet that responsibility as Chair of the Democratic caucus,
under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi.
"I seek this post, and not any other, because I believe what we need now is a unified Democratic caucus, focused squarely on the business of moving this country forward."
Larson stated in the joint statement, "It has been an honor to serve the Caucus and I look forward to continuing to serve its members. "
Democrats return to Washington next Thursday to pick their leaders for the 110th Congress, to be sworn in next January.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who made her first trip to the White House today as Speaker-designate, will take a post of overseeing the entire House.
The speaker is elected by the members of the House—with the majority party supplying the votes to name one of their own as speaker. The other leadership posts are filled by each party.
There is a battle brewing for House Majority Leader between Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) the current minority whip and Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.).
The third ranking post is Majority Whip, where there already is a declared candidate, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who wants to move up from the number four spot.
Clyburn had been laying the groundwork for the position in the event of a Democratic takeover. He made his bid official on Wednesday. Clybourn is an African-American and is running for the whip post with the backing of the Congressional Black Caucus
Emanuel realized that there was no need to set up what could have been an inflammatory confrontation with Clyburn and his backers in going after the Whip job, which he could have won.
All four positions have a seat at the table in shaping the Democratic agenda. Emanuel will be able to redefine the role as he sees fit. All he needs is the creditional to be at that small table and he will make of the job what he wants.
Emanuel already sits on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, an appointment he demanded when he took over as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The Caucus chair has a major role in shaping policy. At present, the chair runs regular Wednesday meetings when the House is in session where members discuss party positions and the overall agenda. Emanuel is expected to give the job a significantly higher profile and will be empowered to take on a broader agenda.
On Wednesday, Emanuel traveled from Washington to New York and appeared on a segment of the Charlie Rose show to discuss Tuesday's election. He returns to Chicago on Thursday.