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May 28, 2024 11:56 AM UTC

Congressman Joe Neguse Getting National Attention for "Meteoric Rise"

  • by: Colorado Pols

Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) was first elected to Congress in 2018 and just turned 40 this month. His resume is already that of someone much older, and national news outlets are increasingly figuring out what Colorado has known for awhile now: Neguse is a rising star.


Neguse was just 36-years-old when he served as the youngest impeachment manager in American history, helping guide the second impeachment trial of then-former President Donald Trump in 2021. In late 2022, Neguse was appointed to the #5 position in Democratic House leadership (chairman of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee), making him the highest-ranking Member of Congress from Colorado in 80 years. Roughly 15 months later, Neguse was elevated again, this time to the #4 spot in Democratic leadership and the title of Assistant Democratic Leader. That role has often (indirectly) led to bigger things for previous holders of the job; then-Rep. Xavier Becerra held the title before serving as California attorney general and now Health and Human Services secretary. Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen is also a former Assistant Democratic Leader.

NBC News is out with a big story today highlighting the rapid ascent of the Colorado Congressman. As Scott Wong and Rebecca Kaplan report:

Via NBC News (5/28/24)

For the charismatic Coloradan, who just celebrated his 40th birthday, Neguse’s jam-packed, fast-paced schedule is emblematic of his broader political career. Already a member of Democratic leadership, he’s wasting no time and eager to climb the leadership ladder. And his colleagues have taken notice.

“He’s in the mix; he’s had a meteoric rise,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., who served with Neguse on the Democratic impeachment team that prosecuted former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 attack…

…Given his rapid rise during his first three terms in Congress, it’s unlikely Neguse will patiently wait his turn. But for now, it’s too soon to know whether he will try to leapfrog potential rivals in the leadership pipeline or launch a bid for governor or senator. Should the Democrats take back control of the House in November, colleagues expect Neguse to run to be assistant speaker, a job previously held by Ben Ray Luján (now in the Senate) and Katherine Clark (now the minority whip and No. 2 leader).

Neguse, always cautious about how he chooses his words, demurred when specifically asked what his next political moves might be and whether they could include a bid for the Senate or governor’s mansion, where Democrat Jared Polis is facing term limits in 2026. Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., 72, has said he’ll seek re-election that same year; while Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., 59, is up in 2028.

As Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun points out via ‘X,’ Neguse is already thought to have his eyes on a bid for Governor in 2026, which would mark a similar path to the one taken by current Gov. Jared Polis (Neguse succeeded Polis in CO-02, though the district boundaries changed with redistricting in 2021). For his part, Neguse is keeping his future plans close to the proverbial vest.

In the meantime, as NBC News continues, Neguse is wasting no time putting his new title to good use:

Neguse appears to be taking the job in a new and more visible direction — and he’s catching the eye of some potential rivals for future leadership roles. Just 60 days in his new role, he’s holding monthly news conferences to promote his colleagues’ work, including one in April on blocking cuts to Social Security and Medicare and another in May on protecting reproductive rights and other freedoms. Those have been followed by “special order hours,” led by Neguse, where members can amplify those issues on the House floor.

The Colorado Democrat is also hosting events where members can get to know key Biden administration members — something that Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., had been doing as Democratic Caucus vice chair. Neguse recently held a dinner for colleagues featuring Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan and will host a member breakfast with NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in the coming weeks.

And twice a week, Neguse sends emails to members, highlighting individual members’ work and floor speeches, offering helpful tips and reminding them of upcoming events he’s organized.

Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish)

Neguse’s schedule also includes a busy fundraising effort:

This cycle, he’s raised $1.7 million for incumbent front-liners and candidates in the “Red to Blue” program and raised $6 million for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party’s campaign arm. Starting in June, Neguse will travel to Arizona, New Mexico and Ohio to stump and raise cash for Democratic candidates, said a source close to Neguse.

As we’ve documented in this space, Neguse is pushing back more forcefully on House Republicans and their clear lack of a coherent policy plan. He blasted Republicans in April for prioritizing nonsense legislation such as the “Liberty in Laundry Act” and later hammered South Carolina Republican Rep. Tim Duncan during a House Rules Committee hearing for his obvious lack of understanding of his own issues.

Neguse is an obvious choice to eventually succeed Senators Michael Bennet or John Hickenlooper. If he decides to run for Governor in 2026, Neguse would also enter the race as a clear favorite despite the interest of several other notable names (including Attorney General Phil Weiser and Secretary of State Jena Griswold).

Unlike the Colorado Republican bench, which we’ve long compared to a phone booth (Google it, kids), Colorado Democrats have plenty of options when it comes to candidates for higher office. Neguse would be a strong option for any of those future roles.


8 thoughts on “Congressman Joe Neguse Getting National Attention for “Meteoric Rise”

  1. Ugh. Talking about Neguse is so boring. "Look at this respectful, competent person doing good work in good ways." There's no outrage there! What kind of social media attention can we get from that!? "I think Rep Neguse is doing great and I feel respected by him." That's not gonna get clicks!!

    This is outstanding and I'm glad to see Neguse's conduct being rewarded.

  2. If Dems win the majority I imagine Joe will stay in the House and be a powerful national figure rather than be governor with all the headaches that brings , or  see if Hick smartly decides to retire (he's been a pretty invisible senator )

  3. Wow. It's always nice to see someone who is such a hard, intelligent and effective worker rise in the ranks and receive credit for what they do rather than the performative shitbaggery we are all so tired of. Something positive for these dark days, and I'll take it !

  4. Joe has to stay in his seat until we’re certain we have a sure-fire Dem to take his place. I’d hate to lose him and cede the seat to the Chaos Party.

    1. CD2 is safely Democratic. The last Republican to run there got 28% of the vote. They'll elect a Green before they elect any right-of-center Candidate. But I. would like the Goose to keep representing the district for at least another cycle. 

        1. At the time of the redistricting, the Commission analyzed 8 statewide elections and found the new district had given Democrats the win by an average of 34.1%. 

          You can see the comparison of the registrations at the time of redistricting and as of the beginning of April 2024:

          YEAR ………UAF………DEM………REP…….MINOR

          CD 2 2021 ….227,147.. 180,257.. 92,565.. ..8,561

          CD 2 2024 ..280,613.. 181,785.. 90,254.. 10,249

          While not as lopsided at CD 1 for Democrats, a bulge of about 2 Democrats for every 1 Republican hints at likely outcomes. 

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