November 30, 2016

Luján remains DCCC chair, Pelosi still Minority Leader

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

Democrats in Congress voted to stay the course with leadership, including with one New Mexican in a key role.

Ben Ray Luján, a Democratic congressman from northern New Mexico, will lead the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for a second election cycle in a row. The position is not elected and is instead selected by the Democratic leader.

That leader remains Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, who was reelected to the minority leader position over Ohio’s Tim Ryan on a 134 to 63 vote.

Pelosi has led the Democratic caucus since 2002, and often saw very little or no opposition for her time as Minority Leader or, when Democrats had a majority in the House of Representatives, Speaker.

Democrats also reelection Steny Hoyer of Maryland as whip, and James Clyborn of South Carolina as assistant Democratic leader.

Republicans previously unanimously backed Paul Ryan for Speaker of the House.

“I was proud to vote Nancy Pelosi as Democratic Leader and look forward to working with her in the 115th Congress,” Luján said in a statement.

“I appreciate the fact that we were able to have an honest debate about the future of the Democratic Caucus and the need to empower newer members to shape that future,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “The real roadblock to progress has been the divisions and lack of leadership from the Republican Caucus.”

She also said she’s “encouraged that Leader Pelosi will continue to rely on New Mexico’s own Congressman Ben Ray Lujan to be part of her leadership team.”

Lujan Grisham did not say if she voted for Pelosi or not.

Democrats hoped to gain a large amount of seats in the House on the back of a backlash against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Instead, Trump won reelection and Democrats won just six seats back, with two races remaining undecided. Those seats, both held by Republicans who left the position to run for U.S. Senate, are in Louisiana and will be decided in a Dec. 10 runoff election.

Luján was a surprise pick in 2014 to lead the DCCC.

Update: Added response by Luján.