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Politics & Policy

New day is dawning’: Pelosi endorses Hakeem Jeffries to replace her in House leadership

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives to the U.S. Capitol Building on Nov. 17, 2022 in Washington, D.C. | Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

After announcing she won't seek another term in House leadership, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is officially handing the baton to Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark and Vice Chairman Pete Aguilar to lead the now minority party in the House of Representatives.

Jeffries, a 52-year-old congressman from New York, formally announced his bid to succeed Pelosi as House leader on Friday. If elected, the 52-year-old Brooklyn native would become the first Black party leader in Congress.

Katherine Clark, Democrat from Massachusetts, will seek the powerful whip position—often responsible for managing floor votes. Aguilar, who represents San Bernardino in Congress, is making a bid to replace Jeffries as caucus chairman.

In a statement on Friday, Pelosi hailed the trio "as ready and willing to assume this awesome responsibility."

“House Democrats will be led by a trio that reflects our beautiful diversity of our nation. Chair Jeffries, Assistant Speaker Clark and Vice Chair Aguilar know that, in our Caucus, diversity is our strength and unity is our power," she said. 

The three up-and-coming leaders, all either in their 40s or 50s, represent a younger generation of leaders in a party often criticized for skewing older at the leadership level. Pelosi is 82, and President Joe Biden turns 80 this weekend.

“A new day is dawning—and I am confident that these new leaders will capably lead our Caucus and the Congress," Pelosi said.

Pelosi isn't going anywhere, however—just reelected to her 19th term in Congress, she has no plans to retire.

“[The speaker] has awesome power, but I will always have influence,” Pelosi told CNN on Sunday.

Still, Pelosi's departure from House Leadership marks a major transition for the Democratic Party for the legislator herself, who's served four terms as House Speaker and was the first woman to ever hold that position.

When Pelosi eventually does retire, it could set off a political fight for the ages as local leaders campaign to replace her.

But for now, those interested in succeeding her will simply have to bide their time and wait.

Annie Gaus can be reached at annie@sfstandard.com