CHC Looks to Endorse in Vice Chairman Race

Posted December 9, 2008 at 2:30pm

Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are going to meet early Wednesday morning to try to reach consensus on backing one of their own for the House Democratic Caucus vice chairmanship.

“We’re going to vote,” said incoming CHC Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), adding if her caucus can’t reach an agreement, “every member will be free to support whoever that member wants to support.”

The group just last month rallied behind Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), helping him secure the vice chairmanship in an easy win over Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio). But Becerra is now mulling quitting the House altogether to become U.S. trade representative for President-elect Barack Obama. That development has set off a shadow race for his fifth-ranking leadership post.

So far, Rep. Hilda Solis — who, like Becerra, hails from Los Angeles and claims close ties to Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.) — is the only CHC member publicly considering a bid. Velázquez said another Hispanic lawmaker might be interested, but she declined to name that person. There had been buzz this week that Rep. Dennis Cardoza (Calif.), a Hispanic member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, could throw his hat in. But a Cardoza spokesman said he is endorsing Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), a top party fundraiser and leader of the moderate New Democrat Coalition who has been rapidly lining up support for the post.