Frontrunner Emerges In Race To Replace Pelosi

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

As the Tuesday midterm elections loom, there is scrambling to adjust to the expectation that Republicans will fill the seats in Congress. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is on her way out, and Democrats will need to have a minority leader in place when the turnover happens.

If Democrats fail to hold the House, Pelosi is widely expected to step down — not just from leadership, but from Congress, Politico reported.

Republicans are currently favored to win the House of Representatives, according to Five Thirty-Eight, and are expected to announce leadership positions a week after the midterms. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will likely take over Pelosi’s position as speaker in the event of the expected Republican red wave.

Speculation as to who will step into the Democrat leadership position has some names being bantered about. Majority leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip Rep James Clyburn, D-S.C., Assistant Speaker Rep. Katherine Clark, and Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D- NY are a few of the names.

Now the news is breaking of a meeting that may shed light on Democrats’ intentions when it comes to House leadership. As Pelosi steps down, one name is standing out.

Hakeem Sekou Jefferies has served New York’s 8th congressional district, which is eastern Brooklyn and southwestern Queens, since 2013. The 52 year old congressman whose website touts affordable housing, the broken criminal justice system, prescription drug prices and public education. Jefferies has chaired the Democratic Caucus since 2019. Jefferies is reportedly of the Muslim faith.

A secret Sept. 1 meeting may have put Hakeem Jeffries on the map to replace California representative Nancy Pelosi’s role as top House Democrat, Politico reports. In the event of a Republican sweep, that would put Jeffries as the minority leader.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, who chairs the House Democratic Caucus, met up at Clyburn’s office during the summer congressional recess, according to the outlet.

Jeffries, the fifth ranking House Democrat who aspires to be the first ranking, picked up chatter about a colleague and took action.

Jefferies became aware of a “quiet campaign” from California Rep. Adam Schiff for the speakership, inspiring the New York congressman to fly out to California and speak with Clyburn. At the meeting, Clyburn reportedly expressed his full support for Jeffries’ bid, Daily Caller reports.

“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 of Jeffries, according to Politico. “He knows that, I didn’t have to tell him that — but I did.”

The 82 year old Clyburn added he is “willing to do anything the caucus thinks is to their benefit” and noted that Jefferies has “referred to me a sa mentor.”

The news of change in Democratic leadership comes as speculation about whether President Biden will run for a second term is rampant. Biden himself insists that he will run, and that he is the best chance for the Democratic Party to keep control of the Oval Office, but there are murmorings form other high party officials that Biden is not the best choice of a candidate.

Republican sources say that former President Donald Trump will be announcing his candidacy shortly after the midterm elections are over, and with the multitude of issues facing the country that the Biden administration has failed to address or conquer, it is thought that a strong figure would need to tun against Trump.

Commentators note that Trump has increasingly high numbers in approval ratings not just from Republicans but Democrats as well, and more voters have been switching to the Republican party than vice-versa. Trump-backed candidates outnumber those he did not back at the polls on Tuesday, and the expected Red Wave in congress should be a clue about the former president’s support across the nation.

None of the Democrat names bantered about are powerful names nationally.

The Hill reported that with Biden’s recent “it remains to be seen” comment about his running again, more Democratic chatter about who will run has surfaced. Vice-President Harris is reportedly not seen as aa leading option. One Democratic donor said, “there’s not one clear candidate and there’s not a rising star.”

The outlet quotes strategists saying that although Harris remains as an option for 2024, “No one is going to win the nomination without winning in the South.”

The Hill denotes seven top contenders, namely Harris, Buttigieg, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Newsome, Se. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders (who has stated that he will not run and supports Biden) and Ocasio-Cortez, who only turns 35 (the minimum age to run for the presidency) a month before the 2024 election, and who has not as yet voiced support for Biden should he run. Warren and Sanders both lost to Biden in their party’s 2020 primary.

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