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Jim Clyburn becomes assistant leader, stays in Democratic leadership

<i>Getty Images</i><br/>Rep. James Clyburn
Getty Images
Getty Images
Rep. James Clyburn

By Daniella Diaz, CNN

Rep. Jim Clyburn, who is the current Democratic whip, was elected by affirmation as assistant leader in the next Congress after Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island launched a last-minute bid to run against him Wednesday.

Cicilline surprised Democrats with his 11th hour bid, saying in a letter to his colleagues obtained by CNN that he believed it was important to have an LGBTQ person in leadership. During a closed-door meeting with Democrats on Thursday, he addressed his caucus and announced he was withdrawing his name, paving the way for Clyburn to win by acclamation.

Clyburn is the only lawmaker of the top three Democrats who is staying in leadership in the next Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced weeks ago they would step down from leadership and become rank-and-file members in the next Congress.

House Democrats chose caucus chair Hakeem Jeffries of New York to succeed Pelosi as leader of the Democrats in the chamber next year, a historic move that will make him the first Black person to lead one of the two major parties in either chamber of Congress.

Jeffries ran unopposed as leader, with Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark, current assistant speaker, running as whip and California Rep. Peter Aguilar, previously vice chair of the caucus, and was expected to win the spot to lead the House Democratic caucus. Clark and Aguilar won those positions as well.

Clyburn will be fourth in line in leadership now.

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