Hakeem Jeffries announces bid to succeed Nancy Pelosi as House Democratic leader

Hakeem Jeffries announces bid to succeed Nancy Pelosi as House Democratic leader
Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries of New York speaks at a news conference following a caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol on September 21, 2021.Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
  • Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York has officially announced his bid to become House Democratic leader.
  • Pelosi announced Thursday that she will not seek re-election to a leadership role but will stay in Congress.

Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries has officially announced his candidacy to become the House Democratic leader after Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that she will not be seeking re-election to party leadership.

He is unlikely to face any opposition for the post, after current House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced on Thursday that he will also not seek to remain in leadership. He would be the first Black leader of a congressional caucus.

With Republicans narrowly seizing control of the chamber in this year's midterm elections, Jeffries would be serving as House Minority Leader.

"We must make sure that the perception of the Democratic brand matches up with the reality that we do in fact authentically share values that unite the Heartland, Urban America, Rural America, Suburban America and Small Town America," Jeffries said in a letter to colleagues sent Friday morning. "This undertaking will not be easy. We must show up early and in unexpected places. It will require the involvement, creativity and input of every single House Democrat to be successful. Together, we can make it happen."

Jeffries was first elected to represent a Brooklyn-based House district in New York in 2012. He has served as the leader of the House Democratic Caucus since 2019 and has long been seen as an heir to Pelosi.


"Nancy Pelosi's historic ascension to become the first woman Speaker of the House will forever inspire our nation on the power of possibility," Jeffries said of Pelosi, who will remain in Congress after she steps down. "It has been a tremendous honor to twice place her name in nomination for Speaker of the House on behalf of the Democratic Caucus."

If selected to lead his party, Jeffries, who is 52, would create a massive generational shift in the House's democratic leadership.

The party is set to hold leadership elections on November 30, following the Thanksgiving holiday.

The next two Democratic leadership posts are likely to be held by Reps. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts and Pete Aguilar of California, who are running for House Minority Whip and Democratic Caucus Chair, respectively.

In a statement issued on Friday, Pelosi commended the trio, seemingly endorsing their leadership bids.


"The time has come for a new generation to lead our magnificent House Democratic Caucus," said Pelosi. "In the 118th Congress, House Democrats will be led by a trio that reflects our beautiful diversity of our nation. Chair Jeffries, Assistant Speaker Clark and Vice Chair Aguilar know that, in our Caucus, diversity is our strength and unity is our power."

Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, currently the majority whip, announced on Friday that he will seek to remain in leadership as Assistant Democratic leader.

Several other Democrats are seeking the number five post, vice chair of the Democratic caucus.