US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on November 17 that she would leave her post as the top Democrat in the chamber, adhering to the four-year term limit she set for herself when she last ran for the position. Republicans are expected to take control of the House in January, 2023.
After the House was declared in favour of the Republicans late on the November 16, who had secured the 218 seats required for a majority, all eyes had turned to Pelosi. Seven seats are still up for grabs. Her decision to resign will probably result in a significant reorganization of the Democratic caucus.
Here are three potential leaders who can replace Pelosi:
1. Hakeem Jeffries
The 52-year-old New Yorker is the fifth-ranking Democrat in Congress and represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens. Jeffries has long been seen as the favourite to succeed Pelosi. Jeffries would become the first Black lawmaker in history to lead either chamber, in either party, if he replaces Pelosi. Jeffries and Pelosi get along well, but he has not developed a close bond with the left-wing of his party.
2. Katherine Clark
The 59-year-old has gained popularity within the caucus by assisting new members in adjusting to their new positions in her capacity as Assistant Speaker. She is the only other female member of the caucus leadership group besides Pelosi.
Many members of the caucus, including Clark, believe it is crucial to maintain a female presence at the highest levels of government following Pelosi’s resignation. Clark is particularly interested in child care issues and has a soft spot for fellow lawmakers who are juggling work, family, and new jobs.
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3. Pete Aguilar
The 43-year-old vice chair of the Democratic Caucus is the top Hispanic in Congress. He rose to prominence this year as a member of the high-profile January 6 Select Committee investigating former US President Donald Trump’s involvement in the Capitol attack.
Aguilar has developed a reputation as one of the House’s best communicators and as a team player who will look out for his fellow members. The former mayor of Redlands, California, Aguilar, received praise from both sides of his party for his leadership in the bipartisan immigration reform movement in 2018.