U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette is hoping the momentum from Tuesday’s big night for Democrats propels her into a higher role in Washington.
DeGette said in a statement Wednesday she is pursuing the Democratic Whip position in the U.S. House after Democrats gained control of the house after Tuesday’s election. CBS News projected Democrats gained 27 seats in the house, giving them a 221-198 edge over Republicans.
A release from DeGette’s office said if successful, she would be the first Democratic Member of Congress from the Mountain West. She would be only the second woman to serve as Whip.
“Our return to the majority was powered by women voters across the country, and we need to repay their trust by adding women to Democrats’ leadership team,” DeGette said in a statement. “As we add even more women to our ranks in Congress — largely because of Democratic candidates — our caucus should reflect this strength, including at the leadership table.”
DeGette currently serves as Chief Deputy Whip for the Democratic caucus, a role she’s had for the last seven Congresses. She announced her intent to seek the No. 3 role in a letter to colleagues on Wednesday, a day after DeGette easily won re-election to serve a 12th term in Congress.
The win Tuesday included a large number of women candidates, including 84 Democrats and 14 Republicans in the House, according to ABC News. DeGette is currently the only woman in Colorado’s congressional delegation.
“With a narrow majority and a diverse caucus, we need a whip with the skills and experience to build coalitions and win votes,” DeGette said in her statement. “The American people will be watching and holding us accountable for successfully moving our agenda on their behalf, and we cannot do so without securing a majority on the House floor. I have the background that the Democratic caucus needs for this job and at this moment.”
DeGette isn’t the only person seeking the position. Former Democratic Whip U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina said Wednesday he is seeking the position he held between 2007-2011, according to McClatchy. Clyburn currently serves as assistant Democratic leader.