Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York is expected to make a formal bid to be House Minority Leader on Friday, according to a person familiar with his plans. The expected formal announcement will be made one day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 82, one of the longest-serving party leaders in history,in the upcoming Congress, in which the Democrats will be the minority party.
Jeffries, who represents New York’s 8th District in Brooklyn, currently serves as Democratic caucus chair, the fifth highest-ranking Democrat in the House.
House Democratic leadership elections will be held on Nov. 30. To be elected minority leader, a candidate must win a majority of votes from those present and voting.
If Jeffries is selected as leader, he would be the first Black lawmaker to lead a party in Congress.
Rep. Katherine Clark and Rep. Pete Aguilar are two other Democratic lawmakers who could throw their names in for leadership positions.
Pelosi on Thursday said that “the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus.”
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, 83, the second highest-ranking Democrat in the House, also announced Thursday he would not be seeking a leadership position, setting up the current battle for control. Hoyer has endorsed Jeffries for the role.
Minority Whip Jim Clyburn, who is also 82, said Thursday that he would be supporting the next generation of leaders, including Jeffries, Clark and Aguilar. He did not comment on his future plans.
Pelosi has served in Congress since 1987 and has been a Democratic leader since 2002. She first became speaker in 2007, the first woman ever to hold the position. She took the position of minority leader after Democrats lost the majority in 2011, but then became the first person to retake the speakership position when Democrats took back the majority in 2019.
Unlike the other leadership positions, the speaker must be elected by a majority of all 435 members of the House, not just those from the majority party. If all 435 members are present for the election, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who has put in a bid in to be the next speaker, will need to win at least 218 votes, a task that could prove tricky with his party’s.