- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Rep. John Conyers Jr. hasn’t resigned yet, but his colleagues are already lining up to permanently take over his post as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.

Mr. Conyers has temporarily stepped aside from the ranking member’s seat amid accusations of sexual harassment, and the job has gone, for now, to Rep. Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat.

But Rep. Zoe Lofgren, California Democrat, said Wednesday she’ll take a run at the post should Mr. Conyers resign, leaving a permanent vacancy as Democrats’ committee leader.

“Whenever an official vacancy at the top Democratic position of the Judiciary Committee may occur in accordance with Caucus Rules, I will put my credentials forward for my colleagues’ consideration,” Ms. Lofgren said in a statement.

She said she informed her colleagues of her intentions at their weekly meeting Wednesday morning, where the sexual harassment complaints roiling the House were likely a hot topic.

Mr. Conyers is perhaps the biggest House name to emerge from the scandal, and though he denies the allegations, several of his colleagues have called on him to resign from Congress.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said harassment is a major issue Congress must confront but said it’s up to Mr. Conyers to decide what to do about his own service.

“I know what I would do if this happened to me,” Mr. Ryan said.

Later Wednesday the House is slated to vote on new rules requiring anti-harassment training for all employees.

Ms. Lofgren’s move suggests growing pressure on Mr. Conyers, and an effort to shape the fight to replace him on the committee.

Unlike Republicans, where there’s often a robust competition for committee chairmanships, Democrats usually have made their senior member on each committee their leader — whether that’s chairman, when they hold the majority, or ranking member, when they’re in the minority.

Ms. Lofgren, though, said the rules do not strictly require seniority to be followed.

“I am confident that, as a 23-year veteran of the Committee with nearly nine years of prior staff service, I fully meet all the criteria for the position as outlined in Caucus Rule 21,” she said.

Daniel Schwarz, spokesman for Mr. Nadler, said his boss holds the post: “Mr. Nadler is currently the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee.”

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