Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi plans to register for reelection next year, leading Democrats through a midterm election cycle that Republicans are expected to win.
Pelosi will seek re-election to an 18th full term representing her San Francisco district next year, according to CNN, and she has not ruled out continuing in leadership until 2022, despite earlier indicating that she might not be the top House Democrat following the election. Pelosi's efforts to avoid being labeled a lame-duck congresswoman before of next year's midterm elections may be at the base of the claim.
Pelosi, 81, has been the leader of House Democrats for over two decades and has never faced a meaningful challenge to her position, leaving the party without a clear successor if and when she decides to step down, fuelling conjecture about who would take her place.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the House's No. 2 Democrat, might be Pelosi's successor, but at 82, he is unlikely to appeal to those wanting a new generation of leadership.
Whip of the House of Representatives "Being Speaker is not in my plans," said Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, who is also 81.
"I'd want to sit in a rocking rocker at some time. I'd want to have more time to play golf at some point "Clyburn, the House's third-ranking Democrat, stated as much.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the caucus chairman and the fifth-ranking Democrat in the House, is largely considered a front-runner for the post-Pelosi leadership position. If Democrats don't rally around Jeffries, Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House, might be in line for a leadership position.
After her high-profile participation in discussions over a bipartisan infrastructure package and President Joe Biden's ambitious Build Back Better plan, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chairperson of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has stoked speculation that she would pursue a leadership post. Progressive demands pushed back House votes on both proposals, and talks became so contentious that Pelosi allegedly gave Jayapal "the silent treatment" for many days, according to CNN.
In statements to CNN, Jayapal thanked Pelosi but said it could be time to hand over the reins.
"Speaker Pelosi is a natural leader. She's been doing it for quite some time. She is fully aware of the criteria "Jayapal said. "However, I believe that this is an opportunity to bring in fresh voices and mold the caucus for the future generation."