Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina is now running uncontested in his bid to become the No. 3 House Democrat as majority whip in the next Congress after Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado announced Monday that she is dropping out of the race.
“I am withdrawing my bid for Whip at this time,” DeGette said in a statement. DeGette said that “many” of her supporters “expressed concern about pressure they are receiving to return the three senior leaders to their posts without opposition.”
The news comes as a small but vocal minority of House Democrats has called for new leadership in the next Congress.
With DeGette withdrawing from the race, none of the top three highest-ranking Democrats in the House leadership hierarchy face a challenger in their leadership bids for the next Congress – at least at this point.
Some lawmakers had criticized the fact that Clyburn, the highest-ranking African-American member of Congress, was the only member of the Democratic House leadership’s top spot contenders to face a challenger.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is seeking to become the next House speaker, and so far, no other Democrat has formally entered the race, though Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio is considering throwing her name into the ring. Pelosi has steadfastly projected confidence that she has the votes to win the speaker election, despite the fact that some House Democrats say they will vote against her.
House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland is seeking to become majority leader in the next Congress.
Rep. Cedric Richmond, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, had previously raised concerns that the only challenge to the top three Democratic leaders was against Clyburn telling CNN last week that it amounted to “dog-whistle undertones” being played within the caucus.
“I am still angry about it,” Richmond told CNN, adding, “We as African-American men especially have been dealing with that our whole life, that for some reason we’re not smart enough, we’re not capable enough … to insinuate in some way that Jim Clyburn is not the best person for the whip is insulting to me.”
House Democrats will hold leadership elections and pick their speaker nominee the week after Thanksgiving.
CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.