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Ben Ray Lujan seeks House leadership role

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

U.S. Rep Ben Ray Lujan, who was elected to a sixth House term Tuesday, accompanied by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, discusses tax cuts at a Santa Fe event in April. Lujan announced Wednesday that he is running for a Democratic leadership post in the House, where former speaker Pelosi has long been the party leader. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

SANTA FE – U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, a Democrat from the Santa Fe area who easily won a sixth term in Congress on Tuesday, announced Wednesday that he will run for a House leadership job, the position of assistant Democratic leader.

The post is the number four slot among House leaders, after speaker, majority leader and whip. The Democrats, thanks to their gains in Tuesday’s midterm elections, will take over the House in January.

In a letter to his Democratic colleagues released by his office, Luján said:

“To succeed, we must welcome ideas from all corners of our Caucus. To protect our majority and hold the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans accountable, we must bring our vision directly to the American people, listen to their concerns, and show them how we are working for them.”

Luján is currently chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and was front and center with California U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the former House speaker and current minority leader, in Washington Tuesday night as Democrats celebrated their House takeover.

“Aren’t we proud of Ben Ray?” Pelosi said before the national news cameras after the two had joined hands and raised them above their heads to applause from the crowd.

Luján was first elected to serve in Congress in 2008. He is a member the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the House Energy & Commerce Committee.

The current assistant Democratic leader is Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, who has held the post since 2011. He announced today that he will run for majority whip, another step up in the Democratic House leadership.

In Tuesday’s voting, Lujan captured more than 63 percent of the vote in New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District. Neither the Republican or Libertarian candidate in the race had more than $8,000 to spend.