(CBrief) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could be on her way out of the Democratic Party’s leadership role, according to a Friday report.
Politico reported that the battle to succeed her actually began Sept. 1 during a “secret” meeting between Reps. Hakeem Jeffries of New York and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina.
“Jeffries, the fifth-ranking House Democrat who aspires to be the first-ranking House Democrat in the next Congress, was picking up heightened chatter from colleagues about California Rep. Adam Schiff’s outreach expressing his own interest in the top caucus job,” the report noted.
“The 52-year-old Jeffries was concerned enough that he offered to fly to South Carolina to seek the counsel of the 82-year-old Clyburn. The younger lawmaker wanted to gently make sure his elder in the Congressional Black Caucus knew of Schiff’s quiet campaign — and to even more gently warn Clyburn about the risk of splitting votes between them and opening a path for the ambitious Californian,” Politico noted further, adding that Jeffries had no cause for concern.
“There’s nothing I would ever do to impede the progress of our up-and-coming young Democrats, and I see him as an up-and-coming young Democrat,” Clyburn said in an interview regarding Jeffries. “He knows that, I didn’t have to tell him that — but I did.”
Asked if he would serve in a sort of advisory role in leadership, Clyburn responded that he is is “willing to do anything the caucus thinks is to their benefit,” adding that the New York Democrat has “referred to me as a mentor.”
In September, amid rumors that Pelosi would retire if the Democrats lose control of the House, the Washington Post reported that Schiff’s efforts to take over the party’s leadership have “focused on consolidating support among his home base” in California, but that he “has not made an explicit ask for endorsements.”
Instead, the Post says Schiff “is gauging members’ interest and planting the seed that leading the caucus is his goal.”
The outlet adds that Schiff has reached out to progressive and minority-led congressional groups but that the response to some of that outreach has been “tepid.”
Other Democrats reportedly gunning to lead the House Democratic Caucus if Pelosi steps back include Democrat Reps. Steny Hoyer, James Clyburn, and Hakeem Jeffries.
A report from CNN, titled, “Pelosi won’t say if she wants to stay in charge. But will House Democrats let her?” suggests that Pelosi may be pushed out:
In interviews with more than two dozen House Democrats, a consensus is emerging: If they lose the majority, there would be overwhelming pressure for Pelosi to go, a prospect that Democratic sources say the powerful House speaker is keenly aware of.
But with polls and fresh momentum giving House Democrats some sparks of optimism about the midterm elections, multiple members say they are also starting to see how, if they do hold control, it could lead to Pelosi extending her time in power. Yet Democrats are split about that possibility, with a sizable contingent eager for new leadership regardless of the outcome, even if she’d be the heavy favorite to hold onto the gavel.
Several Democrats told CNN that they believe it’s time for new leadership no matter what happens in November’s midterm elections.
“It’s time for generational diversity of our leadership ranks — regardless of the outcome of the election. That doesn’t change my perspective that it’s time for a new generation,” said Minnesota Democrat Rep. Dean Phillips.
That said, Clyburn’s enthusiastic endorsement of Jefferies all but assures the latter will seek his party’s post-Pelosi leadership role.
Jeffries declined to comment to Politico, while a spokesperson for Schiff, Cate Hurley, said his “time and energy” are on helping colleagues to “retain the House Democratic majority.”
Both men have deferred to Pelosi in public and have chosen not to discuss their future political ambitions regarding a potential leadership bid, “but only mentioned their aspirations to other lawmakers in private meetings or subsequent phone calls,” noted Politico.
“Even then, the two have tried to be careful not to explicitly state that they’re running for her job or make firm requests for support,” the report added.