Updated: 6:58 p.m.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer made his race for Minority Whip in the next Congress official Monday.
The Maryland Democrat is formally taking on Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) after separate meetings Clyburn held with Hoyer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) failed to yield a deal that would avert a race.
A source close to Hoyer said three more Members — Reps. Betty Sutton (Ohio), Niki Tsongas (Mass.) and Brad Sherman (Calif.) — are backing Hoyer’s bid, giving him 42 public supporters to Clyburn’s 10. “We feel confident we have the votes,” the Hoyer source said.
“Over the past several days, I have talked to most of my Democratic colleagues in the House,” Hoyer said in a statement Monday. “I have received support from across the breadth of our Caucus to remain in the second ranking position of our Democratic leadership team. In order to defend and build on our Democratic accomplishments, unify our Caucus, and immediately begin the hard work of winning back the majority, I will be running for Democratic Whip.”
Clyburn told Roll Call that he does not want to move down a notch to the Democratic Caucus chairman post now held by Rep. John Larson (Conn.), and he dismissed another scenario that would give him a senior post on the Appropriations Committee.
Hoyer said winning back the House majority in 2012 “will require an experienced leadership team that can unify our Caucus, aggressively define our opponents, and fight every day for the best interests of the American people. … As Democratic Whip, I will hit the ground running, delivering our message across the country, speaking out on the House Floor against efforts to undermine the health and security of the middle class, building support for our party among all Americans, and fighting the special interest money that overwhelmed many of our colleagues.”
Kathleen Hunter contributed to this report.