The Democrats’ first leadership shakeup in decades is taking shape without drama — almost

The new portrait of the House’s Democratic leadership came into much sharper focus Friday as a stream of would-be lawmakers launched bids to take the top spots less than 24 hours after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced her intention to resign .

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.), Katherine Clark (Mass.) and Pete Aguilar (Calif.) all declared their candidacies for the top three Democratic seats in the next Congress, respectively — a much-anticipated development only delayed by a long, slow count of ballots from 8 November. All three are expected to slide into power.

The well-orchestrated shakeup was largely without the drama that often accompanies leadership transitions — a remarkable dynamic given that Pelosi and her top two deputies, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) and Democratic Whip James Clyburn (SC), have led the party for almost two decades. The pent-up energy of younger lawmakers itching to climb the leadership ranks has been simmering for years and had great potential to boil over.

Still, Jeffries, who is seeking to replace Pelosi, is running unopposed after Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) decided to decline a bid for the top spot. And Clark is also unopposed, despite speculation that Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who heads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, might welcome her. Instead, Jayapal announced Friday that she will seek a second term as leader of the Progressives.

Pelosi’s announcement to step down had a domino effect, clearing the way for a smooth transition: Within hours, Hoyer had followed suit (though both he and Pelosi will remain in Congress in more day-to-day roles), and Clyburn had endorsed Jeffries, Clark and Aguilar for the top three spots. Hoyer, in a statement Friday, gave his “resounding approval” to Jeffries.

Asked Thursday how it felt to step down from the leadership role after so long, Hoyer told reporters, “Not good.” But on Friday morning, he seemed more resigned to the change.

“Why is it time? Well, I think, first of all, when you’re in the minority, it’s really time to train people to be in the majority,” the Maryland Democrat told MSNBC in an interview Friday morning . “I thought it was a good time.”

Still, the transition has not been entirely conflict-free.

While Clyburn has relinquished his No. 3 position, he is now looking to remain in leadership next year in the No. 4 assistant manager slot. That move surprised many of his colleagues, prompting Aguilar, who was eyeing the assistant leader spot, to vie for the caucus presidency instead.

The eleventh hour shift is of great importance to rep. Joe Neguse, a rising Colorado Democrat who had announced his bid to replace Jeffries as caucus chairman last week.

It’s unclear whether Neguse will continue to search that location, but the signs for him are ominous.

Pelosi and Clyburn both endorsed Aguilar this week. And in a Democratic Party that touts its diversity, there will be plenty of pressure to keep Aguilar, a member of the influential Congressional Hispanic Caucus, among the top leaders. The Congressional Black Caucus, of which Neguse is a member, is already on track to be well represented with Jeffries and Clyburn.

Further down the leader line the races become more competitive.

Two popular California Democrats, Reps. Ami Bera and Tony Cárdenas, are vying to lead the party’s campaign arm in the next Congress — a high-stakes cycle in which Democrats will battle to keep the White House and regain control of the lower chamber. This seat was vacated with the midterm defeat of the incumbent, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (DN.Y.).

And at least four Democrats are seeking to replace Aguilar as vice chairman of the caucus: Reps. Debbie Dingell (Mich.), Madeleine Dean (Pa.), Ted Lieu (Calif.) and Joyce Beatty (Ohio).

All Democratic leadership elections are scheduled for November 30 and December 1.

The changing of the guard is a transformative development for House Democrats, who have been led by the same triumvirate for nearly two decades.

Pelosi, who entered Congress in 1987, became party leader in 2003, the same year Hoyer became the No. 2 Democrat. Clyburn joined them at No. 3 in 2006. They’ve been there together ever since.

The monopoly the “big three” have had on the top row of the caucus for the past 20 years prevented a younger and ambitious crowd of Democrats from rising through the ranks.

In the run-up to this year’s midterm elections, the eager crop of liberals became increasingly outspoken, publicly calling for new blood in the party’s top echelons.

“I’ve been very vocal, including with my own leadership in the House, that we need a new generation, we need new blood, period, across the Democratic Party in the House, the Senate and the White House,” Rep. . Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) told NBC News in an interview last month.

In the house next year, she gets her wish fulfilled.

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