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Hoyer Exploring Bid for Minority Whip

Updated: 2:27 p.m.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced Friday he is exploring a run for Minority Whip against Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.).

Hoyer’s decision comes shortly after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced her intentions to stand for Minority Leader and Clyburn’s announcement of his intention to run again for Whip in the minority.

“In the days since the election, I have received an outpouring of support from Democratic colleagues who have told me that I should remain in our party’s leadership, so that our Caucus can hit the ground running with a strong, tested leadership team,” Hoyer said in a statement. “Over the next several days, I will continue to speak to my colleagues about serving our Caucus as Democratic Whip, and I will announce a decision after I have consulted with them.”

Clyburn’s bid, as well as Caucus Chairman John Larson’s (Conn.) announcement that he will run to keep his post in the minority, seems to be part of a slate orchestrated by Pelosi to ace her longtime rival Hoyer out of leadership. Pelosi beat Hoyer for Minority Whip in 2001.

Pelosi’s plan appears to have came together over several days, with the Speaker giving her early blessing to Larson to line up votes to keep his position while she gauged support for her own run, according to a Democratic aide. After several days of publicly ruminating on her decision and her allies rallying the progressive base to her, she announced via Twitter her decision to stand for leader.

Hoyer now appears to be the odd man out. It’s a familiar position for him. After the 2006 elections, Pelosi backed Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) in a bid for Majority Leader against Hoyer, a challenge Hoyer easily beat back.

A Clyburn matchup may be more difficult. Unlike Murtha, Hoyer and Clyburn are friends, and Clyburn is the only member of the Congressional Black Caucus in elected leadership.

Kate Hunter contributed to this report.

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