Contenders for the Democratic Leader in the House of Representatives are beginning to make their candidacies known.
Among the candidates for House minority leader are Rep. John DeBerry, Jr., of Memphis, who chairs the Children and Family Affairs Committee; Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, of Ripley, who chairs the House Finance Ways and Means Committee, and acts as the party’s budget guru; and two-term Democratic Leader Gary Odom, of Nashville.
According to Odom’s office, the caucus will vote in its new leadership team on Dec. 15, although the place and time is yet to be determined.
It’s been about a month since Republicans embarrassed Democrats by gaining 14 seats in the House and stomping out their hopes for retaining some level of influence in the chamber. Republican leaders vow to control the House without Democratic Party support since it now holds a nearly two-to-one majority, 64-34-1.
Fitzhugh sent letters to members of his caucus last week announcing his plans to run for minority leader. Here’s what it said:
Tennessee lost some excellent public servants in the November election. The talents of Eddie, Jim, Les, Dennis, Henry, Stratton, Kent, Ty, George, Mark, Butch and Judy will be missed by our Caucus and our state. It is imperative that we regroup, learn from the election, and move forward with a vision for the future. After much thought and consideration and discussion with many of you, I have decided to place my name in consideration for the position of Democratic Leader.
I believe you know me so I won’t attempt to campaign in this letter except commit to each of you that I will do my best to bring us together, clearly and strongly articulate our positions and work tirelessly to support and promote our Democratic principles. We have unprecedented challenges ahead and I will do everything I can to help us meet them. We must regain our voice and our majority.
I look forward to talking with you before the selection and ask that you give me a call… if you need me.
Our Caucus is a special group of people and I wish you the very best. I am proud to know each of you and consider you my friend. I wish you the very best throughout the holiday season.