Colorado U.S. Rep.-elect Joe Neguse of Boulder is in Washington, D.C., this week to attend new member orientation. He’s also the sole member of Colorado’s Democratic Congressional delegation who hasn’t yet weighed in on who he favors for speaker of the House.
Current Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is vying for another round as speaker of the House (she served in that role from 2007 to 2011).
In a statement Friday, Neguse’s staff told Colorado Politics that “he is having many conversations with current members, fellow rep-elects and current leadership about their collective vision for the caucus and country.” He will make a decision “that he believes will be in the best interest of his district,” the statement concluded.
But there may be a hint of where he’s headed, based on a caucus he has committed to joining.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus includes 77 Democrats from the 2017-18 House. Notable among them: Rep. and now Gov.-elect Jared Polis, Neguse’s predecessor in the Congressional District 2 seat.
Neguse was part of a CPC press conference Thursday that announced that caucus leaders had met with Pelosi to discuss appointments to key committees. According to a statement issued by CPC leaders Reps. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin and Pramila Jayapal of Washington state, Pelosi “shares our commitment to ensuring that CPC members are represented proportionally on the key exclusive committees — including Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, Appropriations, Financial Services and Intelligence. With the talent of the incoming class of new members, we agreed that there should be opportunities not only for seasoned CPC members, but also for our brand new CPC members,” — [emphasis added] — “many of whom bring particular issue-area expertise.”
Like Neguse, maybe?
The statement continued that Pelosi “envisions more elected leadership positions that CPC members can run for, including an important role for the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee that will include an expanded budget and purpose to help lead the Democratic Caucus forward in fighting for opportunities for all Americans, including the poor, working class and people of color. We look forward to seeing several CPC members run for these elected positions.” The Washington Post reported Thursday that Pelosi claims she has the votes to win the job and has been holding one-on-one meetings with incoming new members. Whether that includes Neguse is unknown.
Her support among the CPC is not a guarantee. The Washington Post reported Thursday that some CPC members may back someone else: CPC member Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio, who announced this week she intends to challenge Pelosi for the top job. Fudge is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. But she lacks the support of one of its senior members, Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, who is running for majority whip on a three-way ticket that includes Pelosi for Speaker and Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland for majority leader.
Pelosi faces a secret test vote from the full Democratic caucus on Nov. 28; she will need 218 votes out of the caucus’s 2019 roster of 227, with 10 races still undecided. The full House will vote for speaker on Jan. 3. Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver, currently the chief deputy whip, has said she will vote for Pelosi; Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Arvada and Rep.-elect Jason Crow of Aurora have both said they would not vote “yes” or “present,” meaning they would have to vote for someone else.