Joe Crowley, secure in Queens, may have a race in Washington

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Joe Crowley. (Azi Paybarah, via flickr)
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After spending the last few months trying to ensure the election of his preferred candidates in Queens, Representative Joe Crowley has a race of his own down in Washington.

Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado floated a trial balloon in Politico today, with sources saying he plans to challenge Crowley for the title of vice-chair in the Democratic caucus.

Crowley has long been trying to climb the leadership ladder in Washington, even as he attends to his duties as chairman of the Queens Democratic Party back home, where there are no obvious challenges to his leadership.

He currently serves as chief deputy whip in House, and as the national finance for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, where he has endeared himself to national Democrats by helping the DCCC raise $7.9 million, third only to Nancy Pelosi and DCCC chair Steve Israel, according to Politico.

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But Polis, who is personally wealthy, has also helped raise money for national Democrats, including an upcoming fund-raiser with Pelosi.

The two are on opposite sides of the main Democratic divide in the House, which is theoretically split between loyalists to Pelosi and Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland. In 2010, Pelosi elected to appoint Israel as chair of the DCCC, over Crowley, who appeared well-qualified for the job but has long been aligned with Hoyer.

There is always the possibility that the Pelosi-Hoyer split is a little overblown, and one insider I talked to pointed to Crowley's position on the powerful Ways and Means Committee as evidence that Pelosi likes him well enough.

The leadership elections will occur after the November elections, and neither Crowley nor Polis is talking openly about his ambitions just yet.

A spokesman for Crowley declined to comment.