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House History

Democratic Caucus Chairmen

(1849 to Present)

The House Democratic Caucus Chairman presides over caucus meetings, which are composed of all members of the Democratic party. The chair is elected by the caucus, and is limited to two consecutive full terms. A list of House Democratic Chairman from 1849 to present is presented below.

The House Democratic Caucus serves as the organizational forum to elect party leaders at the outset of each new Congress. The caucus meets on a weekly basis to discuss party policy,  pending legislative issues, and other matters of mutual concern. Further information on the caucus'  current activities is available on the House Democratic Caucus Web site.

Congress Name State Years of Service
31stJames Thompson Pennsylvania1849-1851
32ndn/a1 .........1851-1853
33rdEdson B. Olds Ohio1853-1855
34thGeorge W. Jones Tennessee1855-1857
35thn/a2 .........1857-1859
36thGeorge S. Houston Alabama1859-1861
37th-40thn/a3 .........1861-1869
41stWilliam E. Niblack Indiana1869-18714
41stSamuel J. Randall Pennsylvania1869-1871
42ndn/a5 .........1871-1873
43rdWilliam E. Niblack Indiana1873-1875
44thLucius Q.C. Lamar Mississippi1875-1877
45thHiester Clymer Pennsylvania1877-1879
46thJohn F. House Tennessee1879-1881
47thn/a6 .........1881-1883
48thGeorge W. Geddes Ohio1883-1885
49thJ. Randolph Tucker Virginia1885-1887
50thSamuel S. Cox New York1887-18897
51st-53rdWilliam S. Holman Indiana1889-1895
54thDavid B. Culberson Texas1895-1897
55thJames D. Richardson Tennessee1897-1899
56th-58thJames Hay Virginia1899-1905
59thRobert L. Henry Texas1905-1907
60th-61stHenry D. Clayton Alabama1907-19118
62ndAlbert S. Burleson Texas1911-19138
63rdA. Mitchell Palmer Pennsylvania1913-1915
64th-65thEdward W. Saunders Virginia1915-1919
66thArthur G. DeWalt Pennsylvania1919-1921
67thSam Rayburn Texas1921-1923
68thHenry T. Rainey Illinois1923-1925
69thCharles D. Carter Oklahoma1925-1927
70thArthur H. Greenwood Indiana1927-1929
71stDavid H. Kincheloe Kentucky1929-19309
72ndWilliam W. Arnold Illinois1931-1933
73rdClarence F. Lea California1933-1935
74thEdward T. Taylor Colorado1935-1937
75thRobert L. Doughton North Carolina1937-1939
76thJohn W. McCormack Massachusetts1939-194010
77thRichard M. Duncan Missouri1941-1943
78thHarry R. Sheppard California1943-1945
79thJere Cooper Tennessee1945-1947
80thAime J. Forand Rhode Island1947-1949
81stFrancis E. Walter Pennsylvania1949-1951
82ndJere Cooper Tennessee1951-1953
83rdWilbur D. Mills Arkansas1953-1955
84thJohn J. Rooney New York1955-1957
85th-86thMelvin Price Illinois1957-1961
87th-88thFrancis E. Walter Pennsylvania1961-196311
88thAlbert Thomas Texas1964-1965
89thEugene Keogh New York1965-1967
90th-91stDan Rostenkowski Illinois1967-1971
92nd-93rdOlin Teague Texas1971-1975
94thPhilip Burton California1976-1977
95th-96thThomas S. Foley Washington1977-1981
97th-98thGillis W. Long Louisiana1981-1985
99th-100thRichard A. Gephardt Missouri1985-1989
101stWilliam (Bill) H. Gray III Pennsylvania198912
101st-103rdSteny H. Hoyer Maryland1989-199513
104th-105thVic Fazio California1995-1999
106th-107thMartin Frost Texas1999-2003
108th-109thBob Menendez New Jersey2003-200614
109thJames Clyburn South Carolina2006-200715
110thRahm Emanuel Illinois2007-2009
111thJohn Larson Connecticut2009-present

1 No clear records remain for this Congress. Several Democratic Members offered the various organizing resolutions at the beginning of the Congress.
2 No clear data for this period exist.
3 No clear data for this period exist. Representative Hickman of Pennsylvania nominated Representative F.P. Blair as Speaker in 1861, but no records show whether Hickman was caucus chair.
4 Caucus records show Representative Niblack and Representative Randall as both having served as chairman during the Congress, but no dates of service were specified.
5 Representative Fernando Wood of New York nominated the Democratic leadership slate in the House, but there is no other evidence to show he was elected caucus chairman.
6 Available data show that Representative John F. House nominated Samuel J. Randall as the Democratic candidate for Speaker, the traditional role of the caucus chairman. Later data show W.S. Rosecrans issuing the next call for a Democratic Caucus meeting, but there is no evidence to suggest that Rosecrans was actually elected caucus chairman.
7 Former Parliamentarian Clarence Cannon's notes state "Cox died during this Congress and [Representative James B.] McCreary evidently succeeded or acted for him." However, Representative Cox died on September 10, 1889, six months after the sine die adjournment of the 50th Congress and the convening of the 51st Congress.
8 Caucus records are contradictory for this period. They show the election of Representative James Hay as chairman on January 19, 1911, but do not mention a resignation by incumbent chairman Clayton, nor do they specify that Hay was elected chairman for the new Congress. Later, they show the election of Representative Burleson on April 11, 1911.
9 Resigned from the House, October 5, 1930; there is no record of an election to fill the vacancy as caucus chair.
10 Resigned following election as majority floor leader, September 16, 1940; records do not indicate that a successor was chosen during the remainder of the Congress.
11 Died in office, May 31, 1963. caucus chairman post was vacant until January 21, 1964.
12 Representative Gray was elected Democratic Whip on June 14, 1989.
13 Representative Hoyer was elected Caucus Chairman on June 21, 1989, following the June 14, 1989, election of Representative William (Bill) H. Gray III as Majority Whip.
14 On January 16, 2006, Representative Menendez resigned from the House after he was appointed to the Senate.
15 Representative Clyburn was selected Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus on December 16, 2005, effective January 18, 2006.

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