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Larson Names Trio to Lead Vice Chair Bid

Rep. John Larson (Conn.) on Monday named the first tier of his campaign team in his run for Democratic Caucus vice chairman, turning to three fellow Northeasterners to help him secure support.

Larson named as his co-chairmen Reps. Rosa DeLauro, a veteran lawmaker and fellow Connecticut Democrat, and John Murtha (Pa.), another senior lawmaker and defense hawk. He also selected Rep. Mike Capuano (Mass.) to be his whip.

The trio will serve as Larson’s vote counters and key advocates as he secures commitments from Caucus members for his bid.

Larson said each Member of his team is “widely respected” and serves as an indication of the solid support he will glean from the Caucus. DeLauro is a progressive with leadership experience, while Murtha is a centrist who chaired Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (Calif) leadership campaign. Capuano, Larson said, has a “great nose for politics and knows how to count.”

“They represent the depth and breadth of what I hope my candidacy will be as we go forward,” Larson said in a telephone interview.

Larson, who will announce the rest of his whip team later, said despite the fact that DeLauro, Murtha and Capuano all hail from the Northeast, his support will come from “across the country. We’ll have support from the East and West coasts, the heartland and the South.”

“I think things have come together,” the Connecticut lawmaker said. “We got into it a little late, but things have come together extraordinarily well. It’s difficult for everyone, but it’s a humbling experience and a great feeling when your colleagues and friends support you.”

Larson, in his fourth term, is one of four lawmakers gunning for the vice chairman slot. Reps. Joe Crowley (N.Y.), Rubén Hinojosa (Texas) and Jan Schakowsky (Ill.) have also launched campaigns.

Only Crowley has named his whip team, which is led by fellow New York Rep. Nita Lowey. Schakowsky and Hinojosa have said they will name the members of their campaign operations in the coming weeks.

The vice chairman position is scheduled to open up in 2006, but it could be available earlier if a series of New Jersey political events prompt Caucus Chairman Bob Menendez to leave the House for a Senate seat. Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), currently the vice chairman, cannot run again in 2006, and has expressed interest in vying for the top Caucus slot.

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