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Pelosi won't seek leadership role, plans to stay in Congress

Pelosi won't seek leadership role, plans to stay in Congress


Pelosi won't seek leadership role, plans to stay in Congress

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she will not seek a leadership position in the new Congress, a pivotal realignment making way for a new generation of leaders after Democrats lost control of the House to Republicans in the midterm elections.

Fox News is reporting that House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries is believed to be the leading candidate to replace House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Democratic leader after her decision to step down, which she announced today. (More details...)

Pelosi announced in a speech on the House floor that she will step aside after leading Democrats for nearly 20 years and in the aftermath of the brutal attack on her husband, Paul, last month in their San Francisco home.

“Now we must move boldly into the future,” Pelosi said. “The hour has come for a new generation.”

The California Democrat, who rose to become the nation’s first woman to wield the speaker's gavel, said she would remain in Congress as the representative from San Francisco, a position she has held for 35 years, when the new Congress convenes in January.

It’s an unusual choice for a party leader to stay on after withdrawing from congressional leadership but one befitting of Pelosi, who has long defied convention in pursuing power in Washington.

By announcing her decision, Pelosi could launch a domino effect in House Democratic leadership ahead of internal party elections next month as Democrats reorganize as the minority party for the new Congress.

Pelosi’s leadership team, with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Democratic Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, has long moved as a triumvirate. Hoyer and Clyburn are also making decisions about their futures.

All now in their 80s, the three House Democratic leaders have faced restless colleagues eager for them to step aside and allow a new generation to take charge.

Democratic Reps. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Katherine Clark of Massachusetts and Pete Aguilar of California have similarly moved as a trio, all working toward becoming the next generation of leaders. Jeffries could make history if he enters the race to become the nation’s first Black speaker of the House.

One idea circulating on Capitol Hill was that Pelosi and the others could emerge as emeritus leaders as they pass the baton to new Democrats.