WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to broker a deal between Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn in their contest to be minority whip in the next session of Congress.
Democrats relinquished the speaker's post when they lost control of the House of Representatives in last week's elections.
Pelosi is so far running unopposed for minority leader, which will be the House Democrats' top position. That leaves Hoyer of Maryland and Clyburn of South Carolina to vie for the No. 2 post of minority whip.
"In the course of preparation for the lame duck (session starting Nov. 15), the speaker has had conversations with Mr. Hoyer and Mr. Clyburn and other members of the leadership, and she wants them both in leadership," Brendan Daly, a Pelosi spokesman, told McClatchy.
The contest between Hoyer and Clyburn, the highest-ranking African-American in Congress, has taken on racial overtones.
Thirty Democratic representatives — none of them black — sent colleagues a letter Monday endorsing Hoyer.
The 41-member Congressional Black Caucus on Tuesday formally endorsed Clyburn.
The only way the Hoyer-Clyburn loser could stay in the leadership is if he bumps Connecticut's John Larson as Democratic caucus chairman, or if a new leadership post is created.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, suggested Sunday that the party's House leaders were weighing the creation of a new leadership spot.
Clyburn said Tuesday that he has "no interest" in backing down from the contest with Hoyer, though he insists the two men are on friendly terms.
Clyburn, who earlier called himself the underdog, said at least 50 House Democrats haven't decided which of the two to support, which he said means the race remains wide open.
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