After having imposed term limits for its leadership, the New Democrat Coalition (a group of moderate Democrats in the House of Representatives) held its leadership elections earlier today. For the role of Chairman, Rep. Jim Hines (D-Conn) defeated Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colorado).
The race for chairman originally was a three way race including Virginia’s own Rep. Gerry Connolly. Connolly, Hines, and Polis were all Vice-Chairs of the organization before, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that all three held at least some hope of moving up in the organization. Connolly, however, decided to drop out of the race before the vote in order to prevent some of the issues that might come from a tight three way race.
There are a lot of people who believe having unity among this 50 member caucus would be very good for Democrats since their leadership’s made it clear they’re mainly interested in getting things done despite their status in the minority. Plus, a lot of pundits believe the Democrats need to do a better job of reaching out to moderate working class voters if they’re going to win back the majority in the House — a group this caucus is after.
“The New Dems are the ones who are likely to be the linchpin in anything that gets done around here,” Himes said according to Roll Call. “Republicans are going to lose their 30, 40, 50 people and they’re going to need some help. That gives us an opportunity to stand up and really say, ‘If you do some things that are important to Democrats, we’ll sit at the table.’”
Hines went on to say that he believes they need a couple dozen more people like those in the New Democrats in the Dems are going to regain the majority in the House of Representatives.
If this group is indeed as important as Hines and other moderates believe, then I’m glad to see that Gerry Connolly stepped aside in the spirit of unity. For a relatively new Member of Congress, however, it’s clear that he’s a well respected member who I wouldn’t be surprised to see in a leadership position soon.