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NY Congressman Seen As Favorite To Become Dems' Congressional Leader After Pelosi Departure

New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries speaking in New York City in May 2022.
New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries speaking in New York City in May 2022. Photo Credit: Facebook/Congressman Hakeem Jeffries

The next House Minority Leader will most likely hail from New York, according to multiple reports.

Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who represents the state’s 8th Congressional District covering eastern Brooklyn and southwestern Queens, is widely viewed as the favorite to succeed California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who announced Thursday, Nov. 17, that she would not seek a party leadership role in the next Congress.

Jeffries, age 52, was elected to Congress in 2012 after previously serving in the New York State Assembly since 2007, representing the 57th Assembly District. He has chaired the House Democratic Caucus since 2019.

If elected, he would be the first Black person to lead a party in Congress.

He is not expected to face a challenger with California Rep. Adam Schiff forgoing a leadership bid to instead focus on a possible Senate run, Politico reports

Asked by a CNN reporter on Thursday when he would formally announce that he’s running for Democratic leader, Jeffries said he was focused on celebrating Pelosi’s legacy as Speaker.

“Let’s spend the day at this moment continuing to process the historic nature of Speaker Pelosi and the opportunity that we’ve all had to serve with her,” Jeffries told CNN. “And it’s been an amazing experience.”

Following her farewell speech on the House floor Thursday that garnered several standing ovations and plenty of tears from Democrats, Pelosi declined to say who she would support as the next Speaker when asked by reporters.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn also announced they were stepping down from their leadership roles and endorsed Jeffries, CNN reports.

Democrats are expected to formally vote on their new leader on Wednesday, Nov. 30.

Pelosi, who was elected to the House in 1987, was the first woman to ever lead a party in Congress and was the first female Speaker of the House.

Current House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McMarthy is likely to become Speaker in the next Congress after Republicans garnered enough seats in the 2022 midterm elections to win back control of the House. 

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