From NBC's Mark Murray
Now that Democrats have captured the House, one of the best upcoming races is now all but underway: the battle for House majority leader. Rep. Steny Hoyer, the current No. 2 House Democrat, just released a statement declaring his candidacy for this post. "I believe that it is imperative that our next majority leader have the skills, ability and energy to reach out to every element of our diverse caucus so that we may achieve consensus," he said. "Our new majority leader also must have an unwavering commitment to our core principles, and be an effective communicator and legislative strategist. I believe that I have established a strong track record in all of these areas over the last four years."
Hoyer's rival for this post will be Rep. John Murtha (D), who announced earlier this year that he would run for majority leader (but then suspended his campaign for fear that it would become a distraction). Murtha is a close friend of Nancy Pelosi, the apparent Speaker, and he gained a cult following among Democrats for his opposition to the Iraq war. Just asked by MSNBC's Chris Matthews if he was running -- and would win -- the race for majority leader, Murtha replied, "You got it."