House Leadership Change
With Nancy Pelosi’s announcement that she will be stepping down as the Democratic House Caucus Leader earlier this month. Pelosi has been the leader of the Democratic Party in the House since 2003. Pelosi rose to this position primarily through her fundraising abilities. Since 2003, she has raised over 1.6 Billion dollars for the Democratic Party. Her replacement is Hakeem Jeffries of New York’s 8th District.
Hakeem Jeffries is a moderate to conservative Democrat with a destain for the progressive wing of the party. Jeffries is also a strong fundraiser. Jeffries raised over 5 million for his re-election campaign in 2022 in a district that is a stronghold for Democrats, winning re-election by 45%. The question for Jeffries is can he get progressives on his side after the numerous occasions of sparing? Jeffries, last year, said he would “never bend his knee to hard-left democratic socialism.” In 2021, Jeffries started a Super PAC to protect incumbent Democrats in primaries, a direct problem for progressives. Progressives typically challenge older, more conservative Democrats in Democrat strongholds in the primaries.
Across the aisle, Republicans are facing problems. Despite winning the House, the Republicans only have a slim 2-seat majority. Any dissension breaks the majority. Currently, the House Minority Leader for the Republicans is Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy has been the leader since 2014. McCarthy is looking for the role of Speaker of the House. However, he is lacking support from enough Republicans to win the position. McCarthy did win his House Leadership re-election earlier this month with a count of 188-31, defeating Andy Biggs. The biggest opposition came from the far-right of the party.
Far-right Republicans have stated McCarthy is firmly 20 votes short. While a full list is not available as to who is voting against him, some Republicans have come out against him. Matt Gaetz, Matt Rosendale, and Andy Biggs are three of the biggest critics of McCarthy. A failure on the Republican side could be a victory for the Democrats as the Republicans may have to choose a different speaker, or the Democrats could sneak in a Democrat into the Speaker position. No minority party has ever gotten a member of their party as Speaker.