Hakeem Jeffries favored to lead US House Democrats after Pelosi exit
A liberal congressman from New York is now a likely front-runner to lead the party for the next two years.
A liberal congressman from New York, Hakeem Jeffries, is now a likely front-runner to lead the party for the next two years as a result of Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi's decision to step down from her leadership position after her fellow Democrats lost their majority in last week's midterm elections.
As the first Black House Democratic leader, Jeffries, 52, would represent the party's diverse voter base and usher in a new era of leadership. Pelosi, the first woman to hold the job of speaker, is 82, and two other members of the party's leadership are in their 80s.
House Democrats are expected to vote on November 30 on their new leaders.
Additionally, Jeffries, who has served as the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus since 2019, would have a different leadership stance from Pelosi, who made her announcement on Thursday. He is typically regarded as being more reserved, whereas she has demonstrated in two stints as a speaker that she is hard-charging.
"It's Jeffries' to lose," said one House Democratic aide keeping close watch of leadership jostling, who asked not to be identified.
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In the 435-seat House, Pelosi and other senior Democrats have come under pressure to make room for a newer generation of Democrats. Some other top Democrats may also covet becoming the top House Democrat.
The 83-year-old current leader of the House Democrats, Steny Hoyer, declared he would not run for office in the upcoming Congress and supported Jeffries.
James Clyburn of South Carolina, who is currently the third-ranking House Democrat, is another candidate for the top leadership position. He has been a significant voice in the Congressional Black Caucus and was instrumental in igniting President Joe Biden's bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
He told reporters ahead of Pelosi's announcement that he intends to remain in the House Democratic leadership regardless of the path she takes. "I plan to stay in leadership. I've been saying that all year," Clyburn said, adding that he has "no idea" which leadership post he would fill in the next Congress.
"It's up to the caucus," Clyburn said.
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