Bucking tradition and battling the odds, the liberal stalwart Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) is making a play for a plum House energy post.

Grijalva, who is co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), will challenge Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) for the top Democratic spot on the Natural Resources panel if Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), the current ranking member, wins his Senate bid next month.

The winner would be the top Democratic voice on a panel that is a frequent platform for GOP attacks against White House energy and conservation policy.

DeFazio, another liberal firebrand, is next in line behind Markey and has already secured some key endorsements. But he has also been known to ruffle feathers in Democratic circles with his high-profile criticisms of both President Obama and his own party’s leadership.