Joe Crowley finally gets a spot on the leadership ladder

Crowley, in Washington. (Flickr)
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Six years after an unsuccessful attempt to join the Democratic leadership in the House, Rep. Joe Crowley is now unofficially unopposed for the caucus' vice chair position.

California Rep. Barbara Lee withdrew her candidacy today and backed Crowley, in what had been the only contested leadership race, for the fifth-ranking position in the Democratic caucus.

Crowley had tried for the position in 2006, but was edged out by the current caucus chair, John Larson.

While most of the leadership positions were frozen in place after Nancy Pelosi decided to seek another term as minority leader, the current vice chair, Xavier Becerra, is term-limited out of the vice chairmanship. Votes for the leadership positions will be held at a caucus meeting tomorrow morning.

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Crowley had long sought to move into a more prominent role in the conference, either by joining the House leadership, or perhaps, as chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The DCCC post eventually went to fellow New York Rep. Steve Israel, who is considered a closer ally of Pelosi than Crowley, who backed Steny Hoyer in a 2001 leadership fight against Pelosi.

That fight established the current fault lines in the House, though Crowley did what he could to overcome them, praising Pelosi at every opportunity and serving as a finance chair for the DCCC. And he took other leadership opportunities where he could; he currently chairs the Queens Democratic Party, and until recently, chaired the New Democrat Coalition, a faction of moderate members.

Crowley will be the only New Yorker serving in the Democratic leadership.