hakeem jeffries announces bid for house democratic leader

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) officially announced his bid for House Democratic leader on Friday.

If chosen to succeed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Jeffries would make history as the first Black lawmaker to lead a party in Congress. In a letter to colleagues, Jeffries outlined his vision for the Democratic Party, including pushing for policies to combat crime and gun violence, and retaking the House majority in the 2024 elections.

“House Democrats are actually the party that defends freedom, promotes economic opportunity and values families by uplifting them,” he said in his letter. “We must make sure that the perception of the Democratic brand matches up with the reality that we do in fact authentically share values that unite the Heartland, Urban America, Rural America, Suburban America and Small Town America.”

“This undertaking will not be easy,” he continued. “We must show up early and in unexpected places. It will require the involvement, creativity and input of every single House Democrat to be successful. Together, we can make it happen.”

Pelosi expressed her confidence in Jeffries — as well as Reps. Katherine Clark (Mass.) and Pete Aguilar (Calif.), who are also seeking positions in Democratic leadership — in a statement Friday.

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

Pelosi announced she would not seek reelection to Democratic leadership, but would remain in Congress, during a speech on the House floor Thursday.

“For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect,” Pelosi said. “And I’m grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.”

Jeffries also received the endorsements of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (S.C.). He has served as the chairman of the Democratic caucus since 2019.

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