House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday announced that she does not plan to run for reelection as leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives.
“With great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek reelection to democratic leadership in the next Congress,” she said while speaking on the House floor. “For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect, and I’m grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.”
She said she will continue to represent California’s 12th congressional district in the House.
It was not immediately clear who would run to replace Pelosi. Unidentified sources told Politico earlier this week that Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., would not be running for a leadership post, and Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the same in a letter to colleagues, The New York Times reported.
Pelosi’s announcement came one day after Republicans won enough seats to seize control of the House. On Tuesday, House Republicans voted to nominate Kevin McCarthy as House speaker.
Pelosi, the first woman to serve as speaker of the House, has led the Democrats since 2003. She is the longest-serving House leader and pledged in 2018 to serve in the role for only four more years, The Washington Post reported.
She was undecided about whether to run to hold her position as recently as Wednesday night. Citing unidentified sources, CNN reported that she took home two versions of her planned floor speech to review.
In a statement Wednesday, Pelosi praised Democrats for their performance in the midterm elections but did not mention her future plans.
“This year, House Democrats defied expectations with an excellent performance: running their races with courage, optimism and determination,” she said. “In the next Congress, House Democrats will continue to play a leading role in supporting President Biden’s agenda – with strong leverage over a scant Republican majority.”
Several races remained too close to call on Thursday, though The Associated Press reported that the Republicans were “on track to cobble together what could be the party’s narrowest majority of the 21st century.”
White House officials said President Joe Biden spoke Thursday with Pelosi. In a statement, he said she would be remembered as “the most consequential Speaker of the House of Representatives in our history.”
“There are countless examples of how she embodies the obligation of elected officials to uphold their oath to God and country to ensure our democracy delivers and remains a beacon to the world,” he said. “In everything she does, she reflects a dignity in her actions and a dignity she sees in the lives of the people of this nation.”
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise and a small group of other Republicans were on the House floor when Pelosi made her announcement Thursday, CNN reported. He stood alongside them and clapped for her, according to the news station.
“Godspeed, Speaker Pelosi,” Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., said in remarks on the floor before Pelosi’s comments, The Washington Post reported.
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