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Lee Bows Out of Leadership Race

The last piece of the Democratic leadership puzzle is now in place, with California Rep. Barbara Lee dropping her bid for caucus vice chairman, paving the way for a now unchallenged New York Rep. Joseph Crowley.

Lee was facing an uphill road in the contest because Crowley locked up considerable support before she had launched her bid.

“After careful consideration, I am withdrawing my name from consideration for Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus and am asking the Caucus to unify around the candidacy of Congressman Joe Crowley. I would also like to thank my supporters in this effort,” Lee said in a statement. “Our Caucus is now the most diverse Caucus in history. This is our strength and we must build on this as we work to take back the House. This diversity, which brings a diversity of ideas, should be seriously reflected in our leadership, our leadership decisions and our overall agenda.”

Lee is a former chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus while Crowley headed the New Democrat Coalition in the 112th Congress.

Colorado Rep. Jared Polis had previously considered a bid for the caucus vice chairmanship, but he dropped his bid earlier this month and encouraged his colleagues to support Crowley.

The current caucus vice chairman, California Rep. Xavier Becerra of California, is set to become the new caucus chairman. He is replacing Connecticut Rep. John B. Larson, who is term-limited in that capacity and has decided not to make a move for other leadership positions.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland and Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn of South Carolina are all expected to retain their spots in the leadership structure when Democrats meet Thursday to vote on the slate for the 113th Congress.

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