Political News

House Democrats elect leaders for new Congress

Posted November 29, 2018 1:40 p.m. EST

— House Democrats on Thursday elected Rep. Cheri Bustos to serve as the next chair of the House Democratic campaign arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Bustos represents a congressional district in Illinois that President Donald Trump won in 2016.

"We won a mandate from the American public from hard-working people to get results," Bustos said at a press conference following her win, referring to the party's midterm victory. But, she acknowledged, "We don't have the Senate. We don't have the White House," adding, "So it is now very important that we run a world-class political arm of the House Democrats. Absolutely imperative. We've got to take a look at every single district in this country. That's what we intend to do. Every battlefield will be protected and contested. That will be our role."

Bustos ran against Reps. Denny Heck and Suzan DelBene, both of Washington state. The vote totals were 117 for Bustos, 83 for Heck and 32 for DelBene.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York had also been running for the post of DCCC chair, but he dropped his bid, an aide to the congressman confirmed to CNN on Thursday.

Earlier in the week, Maloney asked for a delay in the DCCC chair election after being hospitalized due to a bacterial infection.

"We've got 31 Democrats in Trump districts," Bustos said, adding, "We've got to make sure we hang onto those tough seats. I'm one of them. I come from a Trump district, but I won by 24 points. I won by the largest majority of any Democrat in any Trump district in this entire country so I know how to do this. I know how to protect this House. I know how to build this House."

Democrats held a second-day of closed-door elections on Thursday to vote for party leadership in the new Congress when Democrats will control the House of Representatives after prevailing over Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections.

In a separate election on Thursday, Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island was picked to serve as chair of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.

The main event in the leadership elections took place on Wednesday when a majority of House Democrats voted to nominate Nancy Pelosi to serve as House Speaker. The vote was 203-32, meaning that Peolsi will still need to flip more than a dozen "no" votes to reach 218 votes in a final House floor vote in January, though it is possible to win the gavel with fewer votes in certain scenarios.