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Divisions in Black Caucus Over Minority Leader Pick?

But CBC chairman offers no indication of whom he supports

North Carolina Rep. G.K. Butterfield, who is also the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, won’t publicly say whom he supports in the contested election for minority leader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
North Carolina Rep. G.K. Butterfield, who is also the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, won’t publicly say whom he supports in the contested election for minority leader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus has indicated that there are divisions over whom caucus members support in the contested election for minority leader between incumbent California Democrat Nancy Pelosi and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat, emerged from a private three-hour CBC meeting in the Capitol Tuesday night, refusing to talk about what the group discussed on the eve of Democratic leadership elections. But earlier in the evening, he acknowledged the divisions. 

Butterfield has not indicated publicly whom he supports in the race. The same goes for the two members who are running to replace him as CBC chairman, Louisiana Rep. Cedric L. Richmond and New York Rep. Yvette D. Clarke.

“I’m not authorized to make a statement at all,” Butterfield said when asked whether he supported Pelosi’s bid for re-election to her leadership post. “I’ll get in trouble if I make statement.”

Earlier in the evening, Butterfield said he would keep his opinions to himself but did not refute the suggestion that the CBC is divided on the leadership race and matters related to it.

“There’s always division in every caucus,” he said.

The CBC is one of the largest caucuses in the House, comprised of at least 43 House Democratic members, so it’s pull could help sway election outcomes in Congress.

Many of its members have long congressional tenures and several serve as ranking members on a variety of committees.

As of Tuesday night, Pelosi had the support of four-fifths of the Democratic caucus of the incoming 115th Congress, including from some CBC members. Ryan has the public endorsements of at least 12 House Democrats.

Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.Contact Rahman at remarahman@cqrollcall.com or follow her on Twitter at @remawriter

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