In a statement, Jeffries paid tribute to Pelosi but made no mention of his plans to seek a leadership position, although his move has been widely reported. Pelosi “is the most accomplished Speaker in American history, and our country is undoubtedly better for her extraordinary leadership.” The hand that stands firmly on the gavel”.
Jeffries acknowledged their historic rise in the House, adding: “The Speaker has often reminded us that our diversity is our strength. I know that as we come together as a caucus to begin a new chapter, We will draw on that wisdom.”
A longtime Pelosi associate, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), announced he, too, will be stepping down as a leader. Reps is expected to join Jeffries. Catherine M. Clark (D-Mass.) and Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), will be looking for No. 1. 2 no. 3 positions respectively.
Rep. James E. Clyburn (DS.C.) will step down as House Majority Whip to become Assistant Leader, now fourth in the leadership structure.
Jeffries is a lawyer from downtown Brooklyn, the center of New York’s Democratic power. A self-described progressive, he has cultivated relationships with figures in the Democratic establishment in Washington on the left in his backyard.
He took office in 2013 and has been chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, a leadership position, since 2019. In this role, he has been the youngest member of the leadership.
With Thursday’s action, House Democrats are on the cusp of major generational change — from octogenarians like Pelosi, Hoyer and Claiborne to Jeffries; Clark, 59; and Aguilar, 43. The leadership election is the week of November 1st. On the 28th, the party appeared unified on the back of the new list.
In an interview with The Atlantic last year, Jeffries described his place in today’s political landscape, saying: “I’m a black progressive Democrat focused on addressing racial, social and economic injustice, It’s urgent now.” He added, “I will never kneel to far-left democratic socialism.”
Jeffries, a graduate of SUNY Binghamton, Georgetown University and NYU Law School, was first elected to the New York state legislature in 2006 after failing to challenge a Democratic incumbent favored by Brooklyn’s Democratic machine Roger Green MP. Immediately after Jeffries’ earlier challenge to Green failed, Democratic lawmakers redrawn the rallying zone to exclude Jeffries’ then-home.
A 2010 documentary about gerrymandering was the subject of a blatant stifling of young, hardworking political talent. In that film, Jeffries is a reform-minded politician who challenges the establishment.
Jeffries was elected to Congress in 2012 after a long term in the House of Representatives. Ed Towns suddenly announced that he would not seek re-election. Jeffries, widely expected to win after Downs left, suddenly faces a major challenge from the Black Panther Party and longtime New York official Charles Barron. Concerns that Brooklyn might send Barron to Congress prompted a nationwide effort by establishment Democrats to support Jeffries that proved successful.
In Congress, Jeffries represented not only a mixture of liberal and establishment politics, but also the hubris of Brooklyn’s youth.
He once paid tribute to his district’s slain rapper Christopher Wallace, better known as the notorious Big Jeffries, calling Wallace “the classic embodiment of the American dream.”
Citing several of the rapper’s stage names in 2017, he added: “King of New York, Biggie Smalls, Frank White. He died in a tragedy in Los Angeles 20 years ago today. But his words live forever live.”
Jeffries then rapped the words from one of the rapper’s most famous songs, “Juicy”: “It was all a dream / I used to read Word Up magazine in a limo / Salt-N-Pepa and Heavy D up /Hanging on my picture wall/Every Saturday rap attack, Mr. Magic, Mary Maer.”
In 2015, Jeffries considered a run for mayor of New York City after then-Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio failed to deliver on a campaign promise to overhaul the city’s widely criticized policing tactics.
In 2020, Jeffries served as the impeachment manager of President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial, a testament to Pelosi’s confidence in him.
Jeffries also helped reinforce the Democratic message because he is a frequent campaigner and available to reporters.
In 2020, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called on Joe Biden to suspend his presidential campaign during Trump’s trial in the Senate. When a reporter asked Jeffries about McCarthy’s comments, the New York Times wrote, Jeffries simply replied, “Who?”
If elected Democratic leader, Jeffries would find himself entangled with McCarthy, who is seeking the speakership of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives next year.