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Hakeem Jeffries Has Backing from Democrats as Pelosi Successor

Democrats appear to be selecting New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries to replace House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Electing the first black person to head a portion of Congress is a potentially historic move.

After Pelosi announced her retirement on Thursday, the spokeswoman did not reveal who she would support as her successor in the Nov. 30 race.

But proving Jeffries’ superficial influence, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Leader Jim Cliburn endorsed him after announcing their resignation.

“Speaker Pelosi has left an indelible mark on Congress and the country, and I look forward to her continued service and doing whatever I can to assist our new generation Democratic leaders, which I hope to be Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark, and Peter Aguilar,” Clyburn said. 

Additionally, Hoyer stated that Jeffries “will make history for the institution of the House and for the country.” 

The 52-year-old New York Democrat will represent a major change from the current trio of House Democratic leaders. They will succeed those who are 30 years older than them.

Jeffries chaired the Democratic caucus in 2019. He was the youngest member sitting.

When asked when he’d officially break the news of his run for leader, Jeffries stated: “Let’s spend the day at this moment continuing to process the historic nature of Speaker Pelosi and the opportunity that we’ve all had to serve with her.” 

“It’s been an amazing experience,” he continued. “This is a moment right now to continue to celebrate Speaker Pelosi.” 

In addition, the House of Democratic caucus appears to support Jeffries. 

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Democrats Backing Jeffries

Ahead of Pelosi’s announcement, Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty said in an interview with CNN that she expects the faction to back Jeffries. Beatty serves as the Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman. 

“If she steps aside, I’m very clear that Hakeem Jeffries is the person that I will be voting for and leading the Congressional Black Caucus to vote for,” Beatty stated. 

“I don’t always speak for everybody, but I’m very comfortable saying I believe that every member of the Congressional Black Caucus would vote for Hakeem Jeffries.” 

G.K. Butterfield, retiring North Carolina Representative and former CBC chairman, shared with CNN that Jeffries “is prepared for the moment.” This is if Pelosi relinquished her post. Butterfield told CNN he expected Jeffries to run. 

Over the past few months, Democrats have anticipated Pelosi’s possible step down from Congress would open the door for Jeffries. 

Jeffries graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton, Georgetown. He then proceeded to his law degree at New York University Law School. And in 2006, he was elected to the New York State Assembly. 

Since then, he has served New York’s 8th District. During Trump’s time, Jeffries led the passing of the bipartisan criminal justice overhaul bill or the First Step Act. 

A few House Democrats have stood for the moment of Pelosi’s step down. She gained the speaker’s gavel following the 2006 elections, then lost it following the 2010 elections. But after the 2018 elections, she won it again.

“She’s a historic speaker who’s accomplished an incredible amount, but I also think there are a lot of Democrats ready for a new chapter,” Massachusetts Representative Seth Moulton said.

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