Four Democrats who could replace Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi, Jerrold Nadler, Adam Schiff, Hakeem Jeffries, Sylvia Garcia
From left, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., depart a news conference to announce the impeachment managers at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Four Democrats who could replace Nancy Pelosi

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House Democrats have been in stasis waiting for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s (D-CA) announcement about her political future after Republicans clinched a threadbare majority in the House.

Whether or not she bows out of the running to remain the No. 1 House Democrat, a perch she held for nearly 20 years, a handful of Democrats have been positioning themselves either to replace her or climb the ladder to higher leadership roles within the caucus.

Many Democrats, such as President Joe Biden, have prodded her to stick around, particularly given that she led her party to an unexpectedly strong performance in the midterm elections. But she reportedly cut a deal with progressives back in 2018 that she would not stay in the role beyond four years.

Pelosi’s decision comes weeks after her husband, Paul Pelosi, was brutally beaten in his home by someone hunting for the speaker.

Leadership elections are slated for Nov. 30. Here are four Democrats who have been speculated to vie for her role pending her decision.


Hakeem Jeffries

The chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, which makes him the fifth-ranking House Democrat, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) is seen as a rising star among House Democrats and is one of the younger members in leadership. He is also seen as a front-runner to be the minority leader, particularly given that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) has bowed out.

Over the summer, he met with House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) to mull over plans to replace Pelosi, according to Politico. Clyburn, 82, hinted that he would not stand in Jeffries’s way, saying there was “nothing I would ever do to impede the progress of our up-and-coming young Democrats.”

Jeffries had also reportedly put out feelers among his colleagues to gauge whether there would be support to catapult him to a higher leadership position. Shortly before Pelosi’s announcement, he told reporters he was eager to hear it.

Katherine Clark

Serving as assistant speaker, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) has effectively been in training for a higher leadership role for some time. She has been speculated as a contender either to rise to minority leader or another top-ranking slot in Democratic leadership.

Should she go for the No. 1 slot, she would likely face stiff competition from Jeffries, who was considered the top pick among many Democrats, according to Axios. At 59, she is considerably younger than the octogenarians in Democratic leadership.

Pete Aguilar

In addition to Clark, Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) has been floated as a contender to replace Pelosi. He serves as the vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. Competition for his current post is already beginning to manifest, with at least four Democrats in the running, the Washington Post reported.

It’s not clear that Aguilar would be keen on challenging Jeffries.

Steny Hoyer

Oftentimes, the No. 2 member gets elevated to the No. 1 post once it gets vacated. In this case, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) is second in command. Hoyer, 83, has been tight-lipped about his plans, holding out for Pelosi’s announcement.

“I’m not going to make any comments until the speaker does whatever she’s going to do,” he told reporters.

He has long served as Pelosi’s deputy and began working the phone lines to congratulate colleagues on their victories after the midterm elections while refraining from asking for their support for a leadership bid, per Axios.


Schiff had also been another favorite to succeed Pelosi, but he has withdrawn from consideration. Meanwhile, Clyburn appears keen on hanging on to a leadership post, but he has seemingly ruled out a bid to be the No. 1. Democrat.

“No, it won’t be for that,” he told Fox News Digital.

On the Republican side, the race for their No. 1 slot is appearing to be a slugfest. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) secured the nomination to be speaker as the party cemented lower-level leadership posts this week, but he was dramatically short of the votes he’d need to clinch the gavel come January.

Given the GOP’s slim margins in the House, he can afford few defections to clinch 218 votes during the full-floor vote for speaker in the new Congress.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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