House Democrats are set to hold their leadership election Wednesday, with current House caucus chairman Hakeem Jeffries of New York expected to succeed Nancy Pelosi as House Democratic leader next year, a historic move that would make him the first black person to to lead one of the two major parties in both houses of Congress.
House Democrats are to meet behind closed doors on Capitol Hill at 9:00 a.m. ET.
Jeffries is constantly running for leadership, with Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark, current assistant speaker running for whip, and California Rep. Peter Aguilar, former vice chairman of the caucus, is expected to win the spot to lead the House Democratic caucus.
Republicans hold the majority in the next Congress, so Jeffries, Clark and Aguilar will all lead in a Democratic minority, the first of two terms.
At 52, Jeffries would represent a generational shift from the current triumvirate of House Democratic leaders, who are three decades older than him. He became chairman of the Democratic caucus in 2019, making him the youngest member to serve in the leadership.
His rise to leadership comes after Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn announced they would step down from their current leadership positions. Clyburn is expected to become an assistant leader in the new Congress.
Pelosi — who was named “Speaker Emerita” in a unanimous vote by the House Democratic Governance and Policy Committee Tuesday night — blessed the new trio of leaders expected to succeed them in a statement as she announced she would step down and return to become a rank. -and-archive member of the new congress.
“A new day is upon us — and I am confident that these new leaders will be able to lead our Caucus and Congress,” Pelosi said.
For months, Democratic lawmakers have whispered that Pelosi’s potential exit from Congress could pave the way for Jeffries.
Jeffries said he hopes to “lead an effort that centers our communications strategy around the message principle that values unite, problems divide.” He also praised the previous leadership, but said that “more must be done to fight inflation, defend our democracy, ensure reproductive freedom, welcome new Americans, promote equal protection under the law, and improve public safety throughout this country.”