Pelosi’s new position for Clyburn to avert battle of the Dems: ‘Assistant Leader’

November 15, 2010

By Molly K. Hooper -The Hill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) asked her colleagues Saturday to support Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) for “Assistant Leader,” a newly created third-ranking position at the leadership table.

In a letter to her fellow Democrats, Pelosi wrote “should I receive the privilege of serving as House Democratic Leader, I will be very honored to nominate our outstanding colleague, Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, to serve in the number three House Democratic position. I will also ask the Caucus to designate that position as Assistant Leader.”

House Democrats averted a nasty fight when Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the creation of the new No. 3 ranking spot for Clyburn.

The late Friday night news ended an internecine battle between current Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Clyburn, both vying to be the No. 2 ranked House Dem in the 112th Congress.

According to a source close to Clyburn, the “solution” is to create a third-ranking Democratic leadership position that “would maintain the diversity of the Caucus as well as the wishes of a majority of the Caucus, that (Clyburn) remain in the number three leadership post.”

With the loss of the Speaker’s gavel, at least one Democrat in the leadership team was to be squeezed out of a high-ranking position.

But Pelosi appeared to avoid that scenario with the creation of this new No. 3 position, though the title and portfolio remained to be determined, according to a Democratic leadership source.

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