Rep. Chris Van Hollen has been offered the post of special assistant to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as an enticement to stay on as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, according to party insiders on and off Capitol Hill.
But the Maryland Democrat, who helped his party pick up at least 20 seats in the House, has not made a final decision, according to sources familiar with the offer. On Wednesday, Van Hollen told reporters that he had no interest in serving another term atop the Democrats' campaign committee, saying, “The one option I am not exploring is continuing as the chairman of the DCCC.”
His decision to stay at the campaign committee would essentially clear the way for Connecticut Rep. John B. Larson to assume the Caucus chairmanship, unless someone else enters the race. Larson, the current vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus, was the first candidate out of the gate after Rahm Emanuel accepted the top White House job under President-elect Barack Obama.
That makes the big race the contest to replace Larson as vice chairman. A long roster of ambitious Democrats have been mentioned as possible successors. They include California Rep. Xavier Becerra, New York Rep. Joe Crowley, Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, Florida Rep. Kendrick Meek, California Rep. Hilda Solis and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Since Democrats honor the seniority system far more than Republicans, ambitious lawmakers covet junior positions to get in line for the top jobs.