Pelosi re-elected as House Dem leader, Rep. Ben Ray Luján to remain DCCC chair

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Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., waves as he takes the stage during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Wednesday. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 28, 2016. Bloomberg photo by David Paul Morris.

WASHINGTON – Rep. Nancy Pelosi will continue to lead House Democrats after winning re-election to the minority leader position on Wednesday, and the powerful California Democrat announced that Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico will serve a second term as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Pelosi today fended off a challenge from Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, with a caucus vote of 134-63 vote to retain her minority leadership position.

“I was proud to vote for Nancy Pelosi as Democratic leader, and I look forward to working with her in the 115th Congress,” Luján said in a statement to the Journal after the secret ballots were cast.

The office of Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s declined to specify whom she supported for the leadership post, but issued this statement from the congresswoman:

“I appreciate the fact that we were able to have an honest debate about the future of the Democratic Caucus and the need to empower newer members to shape that future. The real roadblock to progress has been the divisions and lack of leadership from the Republican Caucus. As Democrats, we need new strategies to overcome that gridlock. I am encouraged that Leader Pelosi will continue to rely on New Mexico’s own Congressman Ben Ray Luján to be part of her leadership team.”

The caucus vote on Capitol Hill came amid some angst within the Democratic Party about whether it was time to inject some new blood into the House leadership structure after a disappointing result at the polls on Nov. 8. In the 115th Congress, which convenes in January, Republicans will hold a 241-194 edge in House seats.

Democrats gained six House seats in the election, not nearly as many as they had hoped. Under Luján’s leadership, the DCCC bet big that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump would be a down-ballot disaster for House Republicans. The political organization spent much of the summer and fall framing the election as a referendum on Trump.

Republicans seemed to delight in the news of Pelosi’s re-election to the leadership post today.

“What a relief,” Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway tweeted shortly after the vote. “I was worried they had learned from the elections & might be competitive and cohesive again.”

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 28, 2016. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by David Paul Morris. David Paul Morris, Bloomberg

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