November 7, 2018

Luján seeks U.S. House leadership position

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Official photo of U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján

Fresh off re-election, New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján is seeking a position in U.S. House leadership.

The day after Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Luján announced he now wants to become Assistant Democratic Leader, the fourth-highest position in Democratic leadership.

For the last two election cycles, Luján was chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which helps elect Democrats to the U.S. House.

Currently the New York Times reports Democrats won 27 House seats, for 22 total seats, with 17 races, including one in southern New Mexico, undecided.

With the majority, Democrats will elect a Speaker of the House, opening up another leadership position.

South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn currently holds the position of Assistant Democratic Leader, the third-highest position in the caucus. But Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California will likely move from Minority Leader to Speaker of the House and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland is likely to become Majority Leader. Clyburn, who was rumored to seek the Speaker position himself, said Tuesday also will seek to step up a position to Majority Whip.

Democrats created the Assistant Leader position in 2010. Politico reported Democrats created the leadership spot to “stop a pending showdown” between Hoyer and Clyburn.

In his letter to Democratic colleagues, Luján mentioned the DCCC’s success during the current election cycle.

“To succeed, we must welcome ideas from all corners of our Caucus,” Luján said. “To protect our majority and hold the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans accountable, we must bring our strategy directly to the American people, listen to their concerns, and show them how we are working for them.”

Some Democrats have expressed concern about the ages of the Democratic leadership. Pelosi and Clyburn are each 78 and Hoyer is 79. Luján is just 46.

Luján serves in New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District and won a sixth-term in the position Tuesday. Luján has never faced a significant general election challenge in the heavily-Democratic northern New Mexico district.