CT lawmakers want delay in choosing leaders of U.S. House Dems

U.S. Rep. John B. Larson before Tuesday's State of the Union speech.

Ana Radelat / CTMirror.org

U.S. Rep. John B. Larson, D-!st District

Washington – Connecticut Democrats joined an effort to delay their party’s U.S. House leadership elections on Tuesday, and 1st District Rep. John Larson said he would be interested in being part of a new lineup.

“I’m not running, but it’s unfair to say I’m not interested in running,” Larson said.

Democrats lost the White House and, although the party made small gains in the U.S. House and Senate, both chambers are still in GOP hands.

An outcry from about 25 members persuaded House Democratic leaders two postpone the elections for the party’s top jobs in the chamber from Thursday until Nov. 30.

Democrats will decide then whether House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will retain her long-held position as Democratic leader for another two years. Other Democratic house leadership jobs also will be up for a vote.

No other Democrat has come forward to challenge Pelosi, although Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, is weighing what is being considered an uphill bid.

Pelosi has rejected the notion that the election has sent a message to House Democrats, saying the results were all about the presidential race.

But many lawmakers, including Larson, want a discussion of strategy going forward.

Pelosi was expected to rename Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, as co-chair of the Democratic Steering Committee, a position with authority over committee assignments and other matters.

Larson was in leadership too, before the Democrats lost their majority in 2010 and the number of top House Democratic positions was reduced. He was the fourth-ranking member of the House Democratic leadership, serving as chairman of the Democratic Caucus.

Larson had a high-profile role in the Democratic takeover of the House floor this summer, an act of civil disobedience aimed at pressuring GOP leaders to hold votes on gun control. The Democratic sit-in on the House floor caught fire on social media.

Larson said he supported waiting until the end of the month to hold leadership elections. He said there was a delay after the Democrats lost the House in 2010 to allow the surviving Democratic lawmakers “to vent their concerns.”

“There had to be a frank discussion about what happened,” he said.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, also supported the delay. “I think there has to be an understanding about what happened,” Esty said. “I’m not sure myself what happened.”

House Republicans on Tuesday re-elected House Speaker Paul Ryan to lead them in the 115th Congress and returned all their other leaders to positions of power.

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