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Choosing the LeaderLeadership Elections in the U.S. House of Representatives$
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Matthew N Green and Douglas Harris

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780300222579

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300222579.001.0001

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Open Competition Races I: House Democrats

Open Competition Races I: House Democrats

(p.43) Three Open Competition Races I: House Democrats
Choosing the Leader

Matthew N. Green

Douglas B. Harris

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on the most common type of leadership race in the House of Representatives, the open competition race: when two or more candidates run for a vacant position and none of them occupies a leadership post considered the “natural” stepping stone to the position. It begins by examining open competition races in the House Democratic Party. It contends that although the mixed-motive model applies to both parties' leadership elections, looking at just House Democrats allows the documentation and testing of the significance of an important longstanding division within the party, between its conservative, often southern wing and its liberal, usually nonsouthern wing. The chapter begins by focusing on one of the longest campaigns for leadership in the modern House: the 1998–2001 race for Democratic whip between Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD), which would put the winner in a prime position to later become Speaker of the House. It then discusses two additional open races, for majority leader in 1971 and majority leader in 1989.

Keywords:   House of Representatives, Congress, open competition race, congressional leadership, Democratic Party, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, leadership race

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