- The Washington Times - Friday, November 18, 2022

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries has formally announced his intention to seek the role of House Democratic leader and vowed to reclaim the majority from the GOP in 2024 if he gets the top spot.

The New York lawmaker, who got the endorsement of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, wrote in a letter to his Democratic colleagues that he will empower individuals across the caucus and fight Republican extremism.

“Our top non-governmental priority, for the sake of the American people, must be retaking the majority in November 2024. It has sometimes been said that the job of the majority is to govern, while the job of the minority is to get back the majority,” Mr. Jeffries said.

Mr. Jeffries, who serves as the caucus chairman, made the announcement one day after Mrs. Pelosi said she would not seek a leadership position in the next Congress and allow the next generation to step in.

Mr. Jeffries said he wants to ensure every rank-and-file member has a voice in the party and vowed to build relationships if he is the minority leader.

“Each member from the most junior to the most senior brings to the table enormous talent, skill, vision, and experience,” he said. “At this moment of transition, we are presented with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to further unleash our full potential as a team.”

Mr. Jeffries also warned of the threat to the nation from GOP extremism, matching messaging that he has pushed as caucus chairman.

He highlighted an increasingly volatile environment for public officials, citing the attack on Mrs. Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, who was assaulted by a man in the Pelosis’ San Francisco home.

Mr. Jeffries also acknowledged the attack of House GOP Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot by an assailant a few years ago at the Congressional baseball game.

“As the horrifying attacks on Paul Pelosi, Steve Scalise, and Gabby Giffords illustrate, these are dangerous times. In a democracy, we should be able to agree to disagree without turning to violence,” Mr. Jeffries wrote. 

Mr. Jeffries has already received strong support from his colleagues and is not expected to face any challengers on his bid.

He would be the first Black Democratic leader if he gets the position. 

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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