Did Rep. Barbara Lee’s fawning comments
about Fidel Castro this week hurt her chances?

East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee narrowly lost her bid for the vice-chair of the House Democratic Caucus Wednesday. Southern California Rep. Linda Sanchez topped Lee by just two votes, 98-96.

Lee potential ascension to one of the most powerful positions in the House Democratic Caucus would have made her the minority woman to hold the office. Sanchez, instead, will earn the distinction.

On Wednesday, House Dems also voted to retain Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for another two years. She was challenged by Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan. The vote was 134-63.

Lee’s narrow defeat could be attributed to a number of reasons, including a possible unease by some moderates to back one of the most progressive members of Congress.

Her laudatory comments following the death of Fidel Castro last weekend could have also played a role in Wednesday’s vote.

At one point last year, Lee was talked about as a possible ambassador to Cuba following her decades of interaction with the Cuban government and opposition to the U.S. embargo.