Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California announced Monday that she will run to be House Democratic Caucus chairwoman in the next Congress.
Lee announced her candidacy in a statement for the position held by Rep. Joe Crowley who was unexpectedly beaten by Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in his June primary race.
“I am so inspired to fight alongside you as we work to win back the majority,” Lee said in the statement. “There is nothing more important than returning bold Democratic leadership to Congress.”
Lee, who has been a member of Congress since 1998, could become the first African-American woman to hold such a leadership position for either party. She is poised to run for the Democratic Caucus chair position against California Rep. Linda Sanchez, who announced her candidacy last week.
Lee has held several leadership positions in Congress prior to the announcement of her bid for caucus chairwoman. She has served as the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus and the co-chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Lee is currently vice chairwoman of the LGBT Equality Caucus and chairwoman of the Progressive Caucus’ Peace and Security Task Force.
As Democrats gear up for the 2018 midterm elections, the party is facing calls for fresh leadership.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi recommended this month that the party hold its internal leadership elections after Thanksgiving, which would give more time to freshman to get acclimated.