As rumors swirl that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is “expected” to announce her retirement, or at least “step back” after the 2022 midterms, a potential heir to Pelosi’s seat may be attempting to position himself to take over for her.
A new report reveals that California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff is eyeing the seat of Pelosi should she choose to retire after November when Republicans are highly favored to win back the House. Pelosi has announced that she will seek reelection in November.
The Washington Post reports that Schiff’s efforts have “focused on consolidating support among his home base” in California but that he “has not made an explicit ask for endorsements.”
The Post says Schiff “is gauging members’ interest and planting the seed that leading the caucus is his goal.” They add that Schiff has reached out to progressive and minority-led congressional groups but that many responses have been “tepid.”
The rumors of Pelosi’s retirement have become increasingly loud in recent months. Other Democrats have reportedly expressed interest in leading the House Democratic Caucus, including Democratic Reps. Steny Hoyer, James Clyburn and Hakeem Jeffries. Democrats already have several successors in mind to potentially replace Pelosi.
“I think we want leadership that bridges some of the different ideological wings of the party, that is committed to listening to all of the perspectives, that will be capable of helping move the Senate or things that have stalled in the House. But whoever it is, I hope they would adopt progressive positions and also listen to the broad caucus and build consensus,” California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna told the Post.
“I think there was a ‘holding of power’ model that worked very well for a long time, and I think now it is more about a recognition of different centers of focus within the Democratic caucus that have to be brought in and brought together. It takes some acceptance of more-decentralized leadership,” Washington Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal said.
The rumors began last year after Fox News host Maria Bartiromo reported that Pelosi may be planning to step down. During a segment on Fox, Bartiromo said that sources had told her Pelosi would be stepping down when Democrats passed Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.
“First, this morning is exclusive, sources tell Sunday Morning Futures there is speculation swirling in Washington that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may step down after getting the massive spending package through,” she said.
“So all those Democrat members who had their arms twisted to vote on the multi-trillion dollar package and put their own reelection in jeopardy may be fuming to learn that the speaker could be planning a cut and run,” she added.
Then, in July, a report from The Atlantic claimed that we could be saying goodbye to the speaker “in the not-so-distant future.”
“Sometime in the not-so-distant future, probably after next year’s midterm elections, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will announce that she’s stepping down,” it said.
“Her top deputies … aspire to her job, but they’re also in their early 80s, and most Democrats in and out of Congress are counting on them to step aside too. Of course, they all have stock responses denying that anyone is ever going anywhere,” The Atlantic said. “But the day is coming.”
“Democratic members of Congress won’t talk about any of this publicly, as if Pelosi might suddenly appear and pull their hearts from their chests,” it said.
The report also added that, “Pretty much every Democrat in Congress and beyond is confident that Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York will be the next speaker of the House if Democrats manage to hold on to their majority next year.”
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