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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Bad Week for House Democrats

Ethic accusations have forced Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) to relinquish his gavel for the time being. The job then went to Pete Stark (D-CA), who then gave it up in favor of Sander Levin (D-MI). The Politico explains:

Officially, Stark stepped aside to keep the gavel of the panel's health subcommittee. But lawmakers and aides said Stark faced a rebellion within the committee and the caucus over his sometimes bizarre behavior and penchant for making offensive comments.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen told Stark at a Ways and Means Committee meeting Wednesday that his stepping aside would be in the best interests of the party, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the meeting.

Panel members voted unanimously in favor of recommending Levin for the post once Stark stepped aside, according to Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas).

Meanwhile, another case is not only causing further damage to the party image, but opening a seat to a GOP takeover. At Hotline, Reid Wilson writes:

And Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) said he would retire after a single term in office; Capitol Hill buzzed with rumors that the ethics committee is investigating alleged harrassment of a male staffer, though Massa denied those reports and said a recurrence of cancer had forced him to step aside.

Dems are also dealing with a wave of retirements, many of which come in districts the GOP has its eye on. Of the 15 Dems who will not seek another term in the House, the GOP has a strong chance in at least 11, including Massa's.