The New Democrat Coalition grew after this month's election, from 42 members to as many as 52 or 53, depending on the results of the handful of unresolved House races. That equates to roughly one-quarter of the overall House Democratic caucus.
Similar to the "Blue Dog" Democrats, another group of fiscal conservatives who played a major role in health care negotiations, this group emphasizes bipartisan solutions. The ranks of the Blue Dogs, who hail mainly from Southern states, were decimated in the 2010 election, and the group will have fewer members -- about 15 -- heading into the next Congress after the retirement of several members.
A challenge facing moderate Democrats is they don't wield significant power in the leadership. Pelosi and the rest of the current leadership are expected to stay essentially the same in the next Congress. While No. 2 Democrat Steny Hoyer is viewed as more ideologically moderate, and often is the bridge to those members, the rest of the leaders have ties to the more liberal elements of the caucus.
The New Democrats do have the potential of gaining a seat at the leadership table -- its current chairman, Rep. Joe Crowley of New York, is vying for the post of vice chairman of the caucus, against Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado and Rep. Barbara Lee of California. Several Democratic aides expect Crowley to win the spot when the elections are held after Thanksgiving.