Towns Shrugs Off Kucinich Challenge

by Andrew Stiles

Jenny Rosenberg, spokeswoman for House Oversight Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns, sends along the following statement in response to Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s announcement — in a “Dear Colleagues” letter — that he is seeking the position of Ranking Member of the Oversight Committee in the next Congress:

Based on the overwhelming support Rep. Towns is receiving from fellow Democrats, he is confident that he will be Ranking Member.  Rep. Towns firmly believes that his record of accomplishments as chairman – including a wide-ranging investigation into the federal bailout that resulted in recovering more than $400 million for taxpayers, comprehensive Recovery Act oversight that created three million jobs and improper payments legislation that President Obama signed into law- make him the best candidate for this important position. Just as he has done as Chairman, he will lead Committee Democrats in pursuing their common goals and agenda.

However, Democrats (and the White House) aren’t particularly thrilled with either candidate, though most who have weighed in are supporting Towns. One thing Towns has going for him is the full support of the Congressional Black Caucus. After Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina was pressured out of a run for House Minority Whip in favor of Rep. Steny Hoyer, Democrats are understandably hesitant to ask another black member to step aside.

One option being floated is to replace Towns with Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, CBC member and third-ranking Democrat on the Oversight Committee. Cummings is currently backing Towns for the position, but if Towns were to step down, Cummings has indicated he would be interested in the position. “I’d go for it in a second,” he told the Huffington Post yesterday.

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