Cedric Richmond Now Runs The Congressional Black Caucus

Local man rises to prominence, one supposes.

Rep. Cedric Richmond was elected chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Wednesday (Nov. 30), boosting the New Orleans Democrat’s influence to shape his party’s priorities during President Donald Trump’s first term and under a Republican-controlled Congress.

Brandon Gassaway, Richmond’s spokesman, confirmed the election result.

“As we face the challenges before us – from economic justice and upward mobility, to voting rights, policing, and criminal justice reform – we will approach each of them with vigilance. We will strive to harness the energy of our constituencies to enact policies that will have the greatest positive impact,” Richmond said in a statement. “I look forward to working with our membership, as we embark on an ambitious agenda. I stand on the shoulders of a choir of brave African American women and men whose struggles made way for our progress. I will work every day to make them proud.”

Richmond’s win in a secret ballot among the caucus’ 45 members could be seen as symbolic of the caucus’ plan to help Democrats attract more support in The South, a strategy Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., recently discussed with USA Today.

The Black Caucus is overwhelmingly Democrat, save for Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah.

The flap Richmond drummed up earlier this week by picking a fight with Nancy Pelosi over changes in how appointments would be made within the Democrats’ caucus in the House apparently didn’t amount to a lot, as it appears the CBC overwhelmingly voted to back Pelosi in her bid for re-election as House minority leader over Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH).

So everybody’s happy, it seems.

Richmond has a two-year term as head of the CBC, and it will be interesting to see how he does. He’s a personal friend of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), and Richmond went to bat for Scalise after a goofy story was drummed up about his supposedly giving a speech on tax reform to a bunch of David Duke supporters in 2002. But Richmond isn’t anybody’s particular centrist – he’s perfectly comfortable playing the race card and trading in social-justice rhetoric. So far he’s managed to play a lot of that off as “just politics” while maintaining working relationships with the rest of the delegation; with the higher profile of the position as CBC chair, can he keep doing that?

Only time will tell.

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