DeGette drops out of race for majority whip

Authors: Mark Harden, Ernest Luning - November 19, 2018 - Updated: November 20, 2018

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., questions Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette has withdrawn her bid to become majority whip in the U.S. House of Representatives next year.

The move by the Denver Democrat clears the way for Rep. James Clyburn, D-South Carolina, to be selected for the House Democrats’ third-highest-ranking position.

“Many of my supporters have expressed concern about pressure they are receiving to return the three senior leaders to their posts without opposition,” DeGette said in a statement. “We have enough work to do without this internal pressure. Therefore, I am withdrawing my bid for Whip at this time.”

DeGette had been lining up support for her bid for months and formerly announced herself as a candidate for the post  the day after the midterm election, in which Democrats won control of the House.

Clyburn held the post — responsible for keeping track of Democratic lawmakers’ votes on legislation — in 2007-11, the last time Democrats led the chamber.

According to Roll Call, DeGette’s bid for the whip position “surprised and upset members of the Congressional Black Caucus who were backing Clyburn, especially since he was the only one of the top three longtime Democratic leaders [seeking to regain their leadership positions] to get a challenger.”

The Democrats’ leadership next year is expected to consist of U.S. Rep Nancy Pelosi, D-California, as speaker; U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, as majority leader; and Clyburn as whip.

DeGette, who has served in Congress since 1997, currently is one of the Democrats’ 10 chief deputy whips, a position appointed by the party’s whip. A spokesman said DeGette anticipates being re-appointed to the post following House leadership elections.

Mark Harden

Mark Harden

Mark Harden is managing editor of Colorado Politics. He previously was news director at the Denver Business Journal; city editor, online news editor, state editor, national editor and popular music critic at The Denver Post; and an editor and reporter at newspapers in the Seattle area and San Francisco.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.