Barbara Lee loses race for House Democratic Caucus Chair

Rep. Barbara Lee

East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee’s bid for a place in the House Democratic Party leadership again fell short Wednesday.

Lee was defeated by New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries in a hotly contested race for the chair of the House Democratic Party Caucus. The vote was 123-113.

“While I didn’t win today, I hope my candidacy will inspire other women, and women of color in particular, to run for elected office and seek leadership positions. Our Caucus can only succeed when every voice is represented in leadership,” Lee said in a statement Wednesday.

If she was successful, Lee would have become the fifth-highest ranking member in the House Democratic Party and first African-American woman to hold a leadership position.

Two years ago, Lee lost the race for vice-chair of the Democratic Caucus to Southern California Rep. Linda Sanchez by just two votes.

Lee was more specific when talking to reporters shortly after news of the party vote, saying the result was clouded by sexism and ageism. Lee is 72, Jeffries is 48. Both are members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

“You heard and saw what took place,” said Lee, according to The Hill. “So I absolutely think that that’s the case.”

“And that is something that women, especially women of color and African-American women, have to fight constantly each and every day,” she added. “We still have many glass ceilings to break.”

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