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Pelosi Encouraged Larson to Court Votes for Conference Chairmanship

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) gave her close ally John Larson the green light to launch a behind-the-scenes campaign for a second term as Caucus chairman.

“She gave him her blessing to round up votes a few days ago,” a source close to the Connecticut Democrat said Friday.

Larson and Democratic Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) both released statements Friday announcing their candidacy for another term in their current posts just moments after Pelosi announced via Twitter that she would run for Minority Leader. The fact that the statements came out in such quick succession is raising questions about whether Pelosi had been orchestrating a leadership slate that does not include Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

Hoyer announced about an hour after Pelosi tweeted her plans that he was “exploring” a bid for Minority Whip against Clyburn.

A Democratic lobbyist speculated late Thursday that Pelosi could be settling old scores with Hoyer and might announce plans to run with a slate of leaders that doesn’t include him. Pelosi bested Hoyer for Minority Whip in 2001.

“I could see a situation where she puts a slate of people together and says, ‘This is who I want to run with’ … and that slate might not include Steny Hoyer,” the lobbyist said.

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