Murtha Won't Run for House Majority Leader Until After November Elections

Rep. John Murtha, a candidate for House majority leader if the Democrats oust the Republicans from power in November, will not actively campaign for that post until after the elections, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday.

Pelosi, D-Calif., said that Murtha, D-Pa., was suspending his campaign "in the spirit of unity to achieve our goal of winning a Democratic majority in November."

Murtha's office had no immediate comment and Murtha did not indicate that he was withdrawing from the party race.

Murtha, a pro-military Democrat who has gained prominence in recent months by leading his party in demanding an early troop withdrawal from Iraq, last week said he would seek the majority leader post if the Democrats regain the majority they lost in 1994. The party must gain 15 seats in the election to accomplish that.

The announcement put him on a possible collision course with Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md. Hoyer, second-in-command to Pelosi, who plans to seek his party's support to become majority leader if the Democrats win and Pelosi ascends to the position of house speaker.