U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, a Democrat, entering his sixth term in office, was unanimously elected the Assistant Democratic Leader for the next Congress.
In a statement, Luján said he was “honored” to be selected for that position, which makes him the number four Democrat in the House.
“As Assistant Democratic Leader, I will welcome ideas from all corners of our Caucus to build our agenda, protect our majority, hold the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans accountable, and make a positive difference in people’s lives,” the congressman said. “Just like the midterm elections, the road ahead won’t be easy. But I’m confident that if we are all willing to come to the table, listen, ask the hard questions, and put in the work, we will successfully meet this moment.”
Luján led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a group tasked with electing Democrats to the U.S. House, throughout the past two election cycles. In 2016, Democrats gained six seats, and in 2018, Democrats gained 40 seats and the majority.
Democrats also elected Steny Hoyer of Maryland as majority leader and James Clyburn of South Carolina as majority whip unanimously.
Nationally, attention focused on Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California who Democrats chose as Speaker of the House. To become Speaker, she still needs a majority, or 218 votes, from the full Congress.
Some conservative Democrats oppose Pelosi, but they have so far failed to put forward another option.
Some Democrats criticize Pelosi’s age, saying there needs to be new blood in leadership. Yet, all three of the members of leadership ahead of Luján are in their 70s. Luján is 46.
The Democratic Party of New Mexico celebrated Luján’s election to the position.
“New Mexico is lucky to have leaders who deliver for New Mexicans and also represent us proudly in the leadership of the Democratic Party,” party chair Marg Elliston said in a statement.