Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz may be President Barack Obama’s worst surrogate, at least according to the Obama campaign’s internal polls. But Wasserman Schultz may be campaigning for herself to win an under-the-radar race for a leadership position in her party that may allow her to succeed Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who could retire from Congress next spring.
The Democratic Caucus Vice Chair — the no. 5 leadership post — is opening up and the National Journal reports Wasserman Schultz may be actively campaigning for the spot. DWS has been soliciting votes from Democrats who could potentially unseat Republicans in November.
Pelosi, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) are the three top-ranking Democrats, and they are all in their 70s.
Rep. John Larson (D-CT) holds the no. 4 spot (Caucus Chairman) but is term-limited, which means Vice Chairman Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) will most likely move up to the fourth spot. Hispanics within the Democratic party would view Becerra’s ascent favorably.
That leaves Becerra’s no. 5 spot open, which could be a “placeholder” for someone like Wasserman Schultz with higher aspirations.
According to the National Journal, “barring another shellacking this fall, the House Democratic Caucus is not likely to force out Pelosi, 72, as its leader, even if Democrats do not succeed in recapturing the majority.”
But Pelosi may leave Congress in the Spring and try to ensure she is succeeded by someone of her choosing.
Democrats will hold their leadership elections during the week of Nov. 11 and the National Journal reports Rep. Joe Crowley is already “all-in” for the Vice Chair positon and could be Wasserman Schultz’s greatest threat if Wasserman Schultz goes for the Vice Chair post.
The National Journal also notes that Wasserman Schultz is not a favorite of Pelosi’s. And since she “has developed a national fundraising network and profile as DNC chairwoman,” Wasserman Schultz “has collected lots of chits on the campaign trail.”
Because Pelosi is unlikely to hand-pick Wasserman Schultz to succeed her, DWS will have to be more strategic if she is ultimately aiming for Pelosi’s post.