House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was re-elected as the leader of the Democratic caucus over North Carolina Rep. Health Shuler, numerous outlets have reported this afternoon, with 43 votes dissenting over her leadership.
43 seems like a lot, given that Pelosi supporters and congressional aided had signaled that she'd seal the deal quite easily, but, in the end, they were right: No one was able to mount a credible challenge to the Speaker.
While a recently cut deal has saved Democrats the pain of a contest between James Clyburn and Steny Hoyer for the job of minority whip, a fight is brewing over the top Democratic spot on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Some Democrats have worried, according to sources, that current Chairman Ed Towns (NY) won't prove to be a strong enough counterweight to incoming Chairman Darrell Issa (CA), of whose shrewdness people seem generally to be wary. He is, after all, the richest member of the House.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (OH) is openly running for the post, circulating a letter soliciting votes. Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD), meanwhile, whose office has said he wasn't interested in pursuing the spot, tells TalkingPointsMemo that, if Towns decided to step aside, "I'd go for it in a second."
A spokesman for Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY), who is next in line seniority-wise behind Towns, has said that Maloney supports Towns.
Kucinich is a firebrand and could add some volume and intensity to Democratic counterpunches at Issa. Cummings could also wind up with the job if Towns decides to step aside. If he does, the Congressional Black Caucus would maintain its committee chairmanship after Clyburn was pushed out of the whip role.