House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who is Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s top deputy, announced his retirement from the House Democratic Caucus Thursday.
Hoyer, the second-highest-ranked member of the Democratic Caucus, announced that he would not seek reelection to his position in the caucus leadership, which would be the House Minority Whip in the next Congress due to be controlled by the GOP, per a press release on his website. Hoyer vacating the spot clears out the top ranks of the Caucus and opens up a primary role for a younger House Democrat to lead the caucus in the 118th Congress.
“Now is the time for a new generation of leaders,” Hoyer wrote in a letter to colleagues published shortly after Pelosi’s retirement announcement Thursday. Unlike Pelosi’s announcement, however, Hoyer’s retirement was unexpected. His departure opens up the Democratic Caucus’s leadership race, elections for which will be held in the next Congress. (RELATED: Nancy Pelosi To Step Down As House Democrat Leader)
NEW: Steny Hoyer says he will step down from his position in leadership but remain in Congress pic.twitter.com/nxVHilxU4T
— Annie Grayer (@AnnieGrayerCNN) November 17, 2022
It is unclear which House Democrats plan to succeed Hoyer’s role, though some members like Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who had been considering a leadership bid, may be interested in a second-rank spot, with the leader becoming the House Minority Whip. (RELATED: Adam Schiff Considering 2024 Senate Run In California)
Hoyer, aged 83, has been a member of Congress for 41 years, following his election to represent Maryland’s 5th Congressional District, and began his political career in 1967 after being elected to the Maryland State Senate, of which he later served as President. Hoyer will remain a Member of Congress and has said he intends to join the House Appropriations Committee.
Hoyer’s role in the House Democratic Caucus hierarchy began in January 2003, when he was elected to the deputy role along with Caucus Leader Nancy Pelosi. Though Hoyer had been defeated by Pelosi in the Minority Whip election vote in 2002, he has since been one of Pelosi’s closest congressional allies during her entire tenure as leader.
With Hoyer leaving the leadership, the next-ranked member of the Caucus would be Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, a close ally of President Joe Biden whose endorsement was key to his primary win in the state in 2020, which became the lynchpin of his overwhelming primary victory to be the Democratic presidential nominee. It is unclear whether Clyburn, aged 82, will seek the Minority Whip’s role.
Currently, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the Caucus Chair, is widely expected to win the leadership election and take over from Pelosi, though he will be House Minority Leader. He currently faces no other challengers from the Caucus and was endorsed by Hoyer for the role in his letter.
Jeffries, Clyburn and Schiff’s offices did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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