DeGette seeks leadership post in new House majority

Author: Joey Bunch - November 7, 2018 - Updated: November 7, 2018

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington in 2016. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette hopes her 22nd year representing the 1st Congressional District in Denver comes with a new title: House majority whip.

DeGette has been the chief deputy whip of the Democratic caucus for 14 years and hopes to become the first Democratic member of Congress from the Mountain West and only the second woman to serve as whip, her office said.

The whip, a high-ranking leader, is charged with counting votes and keeping party members in line on the party’s goals.

The job currently is held by Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, who was elected by his fellow Republicans in 2014. But that’s going to change, as Democrats assume the majority when the next Congress gavels in.

Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland is the current Democratic whip, but he’s apt to be chosen as House majority leader in the next Congress.

“Our return to the majority was powered by women voters across the country, and we need to repay their trust by adding women to Democrats’ leadership team,” DeGette said in a statement Wednesday.

“As we add even more women to our ranks in Congress — largely because of Democratic candidates — our caucus should reflect this strength, including at the leadership table.”

DeGette sent a letter to fellow Democrats Wednesday asking for the job. She noted that she has helped raise millions for party candidates and served on the committee for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver that raised more than $60 million.

“In this tough environment, I am confident my years of whipping experience will help us win the key floor votes that we will need to advance our agenda,” she stated in the letter. “Success for House Democrats in the coming years will require strong unity to stand for our core shared values, while appreciating we only reach that unity by understanding the perspective of every member and his or her district.”

She promised, “As Whip, I will reinvigorate all aspects of the current operation to ensure we draw upon the full potential of our members. This means bolstering the existing operation to more deeply involve bill sponsors, issue experts, and committee chairs and members when a bill moves to the House floor.”

She said she would continue to campaign for Democratic candidates across the country.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.