House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she will not seek re-election as leader of the House Democratic Conference after nearly 20 years at the helm, after her party narrowly lost the majority in the chamber in the midterm elections.
“With great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek re-election to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” said Pelosi. “For me the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect, and I’m grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.”
“There is no greater special honor for me than to stand on this floor and to speak for the people of San Francisco. This I will continue to do as a member of the House speaking for the people of San Francisco, serving the great state of California and defending our Constitution,” she continued.
The 82-year-old Californian made the announcement Thursday on the House floor. Speculation had grown in recent days about Pelosi’s future after her husband, Paul, was violently attacked at their San Francisco home and Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections.
Pelosi has led House Democrats since 2003, including two four-year stints as speaker.
Although Pelosi is poised to continue serving in the House for at least the short term, the California lawmaker’s decision has widespread repercussions for her conference as she did not announce who should replace her in the top leadership position. Current members of the Democratic leadership, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, have been frozen out of moving higher because of Pelosi’s hold on the speaker’s gavel.
Pelosi’s most likely successor appears to be House Democratic Conference Chairman Hakeem Jeffries of New York. Jeffries, who was first elected to Congress in 2012, is an astute fundraiser and already has the backing of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Other potential contenders, include Hoyer and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif. Schiff has been laying the groundwork for a bid for months, but is also eyeing a Senate run in his native California if Democrat Dianne Feinstein retires as expected in 2024.