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Schiff Vying To Replace Pelosi As Speaker If She Retires, Steps Back After Midterms

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Rumors and reports continue to surface indicating that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will head for the exit if Democrats lose control of the chamber in the November midterms, as many expect will happen.

And one name has surfaced to replace her should she decide to step down: Rep. Adam Schiff, another California Democrat who is currently chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

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The Washington Post has reported that Schiff’s efforts have “focused on consolidating support among his home base” in California, but that he “has not made an explicit ask for endorsements.”

Instead, the outlet says Schiff “is gauging members’ interest and planting the seed that leading the caucus is his goal.” The paper also said that while Schiff has reached out to progressive and minority factions within his caucus, the response thus far has been “tepid.”

Other Democrats reportedly gunning to lead the House Democratic Caucus if Pelosi steps back include Democrat Reps. Steny Hoyer, James Clyburn, and Hakeem Jeffries.

CNN, in a report questioning whether Dems will still want her after the midterms, noted:

In interviews with more than two dozen House Democrats, a consensus is emerging: If they lose the majority, there would be overwhelming pressure for Pelosi to go, a prospect that Democratic sources say the powerful House speaker is keenly aware of.

But with polls and fresh momentum giving House Democrats some sparks of optimism about the midterm elections, multiple members say they are also starting to see how, if they do hold control, it could lead to Pelosi extending her time in power. Yet Democrats are split about that possibility, with a sizable contingent eager for new leadership regardless of the outcome, even if she’d be the heavy favorite to hold onto the gavel.

As for Pelosi’s future, some sources have said that the Speaker wants President Joe Biden to appoint her the ambassador to Italy if Republicans win in the midterms and she is not Speaker anymore, Fox News reported:

Biden is holding the spot for the speaker, sources say, which is one reason he has yet to fill the position since taking office. Speculation earlier this year that a Pelosi ally and former Wall Street executive wanted the job has shifted with the increasing likelihood that the GOP takes the majority.  

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There was no clarity yet on how a new Senate will react to a Pelosi nomination, but there was a mixed reaction to her in the role from sources this week.

More than 100 of Biden’s ambassador nominees have been filled already but several slots remain open, including the U.S. Ambassador to Italy.

But Drew Hammill, the spokesman for the Speaker, said that the report is not true, The Daily Mail reported.

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“The Speaker has no interest in this position and has not discussed it with anyone in the White House,” he said.

“This is the second time Maria Bartiromo has proceeded with reporting anonymous rumors about the Speaker’s future that have no merit,” he said.

“And the second time she has failed to ask us for comment before airing or publishing this utter nonsense,” he said.

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Which direction the party heads in a post-Pelosi era is anyone’s guess right now, but if progressives get their way, the nest party leader will be further to the left.

“I think we want leadership that bridges some of the different ideological wings of the party, that is committed to listening to all of the perspectives, that will be capable of helping move the Senate or things that have stalled in the House. But whoever it is, I hope they would adopt progressive positions and also listen to the broad caucus and build consensus,” California Democrat Rep. Ro Khanna told the Washington Post.

“I think there was a ‘holding of power’ model that worked very well for a long time, and I think now it is more about a recognition of different centers of focus within the Democratic caucus that have to be brought in and brought together. It takes some acceptance of more-decentralized leadership,” Washington Democrat Rep. Pramila Jayapal added.

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