After the not-so-stunning losses of the 2010 midterms, Democrats now must decide who will lead their caucus next year, and some influential members are competing for the jobs.
Democrats will vote next Monday, Nov. 15, according to one Democratic member, and one thing so far is almost certain: current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be in charge once again, this time as minority leader.
When a party loses majority in the House, it loses one leadership spot--the job of Speaker disappears--so it will be a crowded race at the top of the Democratic ranks.
As the politicking unfolds, here's a field guide to the leadership spots, who currently inhabits them, and who might inhabit them in January.
How the voting will happen: Essentially, the Democratic caucus will make its own rules, but the votes are expected to be taken by secret ballot at a meeting that will include the newly elected members that took over Republican seats, who will be in town for orientation. Members will likely vote for each position in succession, so if one member loses, he/she can conceivably run for the next slot, seeking to bump an incumbent down in order.
Minority Leader: Speaker Nancy Pelosi is running for this, the head job in the Democratic caucus, though a few had speculated that she perhaps would step aside after the Democrats' midterm losses. The conservative Blue Dog Coalition, weakened after the midterms, is expected to put forth a moderate/conservative challenger to Pelosi, and North Carolina's Heath Shuler has said he would challenge Pelosi if no other viable candidates emerged. Democratic aides do not expect anyone to seriously threaten Pelosi's hold on the top spot. The only member who could conceivably challenge her is Majority Leader Steny Hoyer--and he has not signaled any intent to do so.