Politics

Pelosi stepping down from House Democratic leadership

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — Pelosi, 82, made the announcement in a dramatic floor speech on Thursday after gaveling the House into session as she received a standing ovation from her colleagues.

“I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” Pelosi said, noting she will continue to represent her California district. “The hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect.”

The first woman to hold House speakership — Pelosi is the Democratic Party’s longest-serving House leader. Her decision will have a major impact on Democrats in their new position as House minority.

Pelosi’s spokesperson Drew Hammil said Wednesday she planned to make remarks on her political future, doing so just hours after ABC News projected that Republicans had officially won majority control in the U.S. House, ending a four-year Democratic majority despite a strong midterm showing for the party.

A source told ABC News Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott that Pelosi took home two different versions of floor speeches Wednesday night.

As she arrived at the Capitol Thursday morning, Pelosi, wearing white and flanked by her top aides, did not respond to questions about her political future.

This past Sunday — when a House majority had not yet been projected — Pelosi, when asked on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” if she would run for the role again should Democrats remain in control, would not say.

“I’m not — right now, I’ve said I’m not making any comments until this election is finished, and we have a little more time to go,” she said, noting that she had no plans to leave Congress.

Pelosi had said the attack on her husband Paul would impact her decision to stay in House leadership post-midterms. Prior to the attack, several members have called for a younger generation of Democratic leadership. The top three Democrats in the House are all in their eighties.

Pelosi issued a statement after the House was called for Republicans, saying House Democrats “defied expectations” this cycle after predictions of a “red wave.”

As of Thursday morning, Republicans had captured 218 seats in the chamber compared to Democrats 211.

“In the next Congress, House Democrats will continue to play a leading role in supporting President Biden’s agenda — with strong leverage over a scant Republican majority,” Pelosi said on Wednesday in a memo.

House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, who clinched the Republican nomination for speaker in the next Congress on Tuesday, celebrated his party’s control of the House Wednesday night with Fox News’ Sean Hannity: “Think for one moment. It is official,” he said. “One party Democrat rule in Washington is finished. We have fired Nancy Pelosi.”

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