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Solis Won’t Compete for Caucus Slot

Rep. Hilda Solis (Calif.) said Wednesday she will not join the four-person race for the Democratic Caucus vice chairmanship, citing her commitments.

The three-term California Democrat, who had been considering a bid, is the new head of the Congressional Women’s Caucus and a member of the exclusive Energy and Commerce Committee.

“I don’t think I can really look at that right now,” Solis said. “I’m just very busy.”

Solis said she will likely endorse one of the candidates at a later date.

Several Hispanic lawmakers had been hoping Solis would enter the race, believing it is essential that a Latino Member be in the hunt. That concern may have been allayed, however, after Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (Texas) launched his campaign to be vice chairman last week.

In addition to Hinojosa, Reps. Joe Crowley (N.Y.), John Larson (Conn.) and Jan Schakowsky (Ill.) have made formal their plans to run. The position is currently held by Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.) who is prevented by Democratic rules from seeking a third term in 2006.

The vice chairmanship may become available earlier, however, if political events prompt Caucus Chairman Bob Menendez (N.J.) to leave the House to take a Senate seat. Clyburn would then run for Menendez’s seat at that time, leaving open the vice chairman slot.

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