After the Democrats regained the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, James Clyburn made an announcement about seeking a leadership position.
In spite of months of speculation that the U.S. representative from South Carolina might challenge Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker, Clyburn put any of those thoughts to rest Wednesday.
In a letter the Columbia lawmaker sent out to his Democratic colleagues in the House, and the media, Clyburn announced his candidacy for majority whip. He previously held that position from 2007-2011.
Clyburn wrote he is asking for support to gain the leadership position to “restore the fundamental goodness of our government.”
“We will stop the assault on our democratic norms, our institutions and the rule of law,” Clyburn wrote. “We will faithfully execute our Constitutional duties and restore the system of checks and balances that the Founders designed and that our Republic requires.”
The whip is the No. 3 ranking position in the leadership, behind speaker of the house and majority leader.
Pelosi, D-California, currently the minority leader, and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, could assume the top positions when the House convenes with Democrats holding the majority. When the Democrats took the stage after their majority became official Election Day, Clyburn was front and center with Pelosi and Hoyer.
While Clyburn might not vie for one of the top two leadership roles, he is being challenged for majority whip. Diana DeGette, D-Colorado, also sent a letter to Democrats in the House announcing her candidacy for the position, CNN reported.
All three top Democrats in the House could face a tough fight remaining in leadership, according to the Washington Post.
Should Clyburn regain the majority whip position, his letter made his intentions clear on dealing with President Donald Trump and the White House. Clyburn wrote he would “oppose the President when he is wrong, and work with him when we can find common ground to strengthen our country.”
James Clyburn’s Letter on seeking Majority Whip
“Dear Democratic Colleague: Congratulations on your election to the 116th Congress!
Last night, the American people sent a clear and powerful message, electing a democratic majority with a mandate to restore the fundamental goodness of our government. The primary goal of our new majority is to make America’s greatness apply fairly and equitably to all Americans. With this singular goal in mind, I am declaring my candidacy for Majority Whip and asking for your support.
The Members of the Democratic Caucus are up to this challenge. We will stop the assault on our democratic norms, our institutions and the rule of law. We will faithfully execute our Constitutional duties and restore the system of checks and balances that the Founders designed and that our Republic requires.
The men and women of the 116th Congress will be the most diverse ever, with more women, people of color and LGBTQ colleagues taking the oath of office than ever before. The talents and life experiences that you bring to the House of Representatives will build a representative government that is of the people, by the people and for the people.
Throughout my life, I have been fighting for an America that lives up to its founding ideals. Throughout this cycle, I have invoked the words of Alexis de Tocqueville, who wrote in his great work, Democracy in America; “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.”
Throughout this campaign, I have had conversations with our colleagues, as well as with nearly all of the newly elected Freshman class. In these discussions I have heard a strong desire for bold, decisive leadership to “repair our nation’s faults:”
▪ End the corrosive influence of money and special interests on our democracy
▪ Break the gridlock in Congress, make the Rules of the House more open, transparent and inclusive for all Members and to build bipartisan support for our agenda when possible
▪ Empower Chairwomen, Chairmen, Freshmen and everyone in between to be legislators and change agents, rather than simply voters
▪ Oppose the President when he is wrong, and work with him when we can find common ground to strengthen our country
▪ and Most importantly, implement a strong, compelling Democratic agenda that resonates with all Americans.
I am prepared to work with every corner of our diverse Caucus to shape policies that allow us to achieve consensus. As the only member of leadership from a red state and a largely rural district, I am uniquely positioned to help bring our caucus together, to marry strong progressive values with pragmatic solutions that can cross our ideological, geographic and cultural divides.
The American people are demanding solutions on healthcare, an inclusive economy, student debt and many other pressing challenges. However, the overriding concern I have heard on the campaign trail is that the fundamental goodness and decency of America is under threat.
Our victory on Tuesday night was about restoring the goodness of America to our government. The goodness of America is her greatness. This is our charge, and my challenge to you. I look forward to speaking with you about my candidacy and receiving your perspectives on the opportunities that lie ahead.
But for now, enjoy and savor this tremendous victory! Welcome to the 116th Congress. Let’s make history together.
With kindest regards, I am
James E. Clyburn”