Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks on the floor of the House of Representatives at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on Thursday, November 11. 17th, 2022.
Shen Ting | Bloomberg | Getty Images
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that she will not seek re-election in congressional leadership, ending a two-year streak as House Democratic leader and becoming the first woman to lead the House.
Speaking on the House floor, Pelosi said she would remain in Congress and complete the term she was just elected to serve.
“I have every confidence in our caucus that I will not be seeking re-election as Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” Pelosi said to thunderous applause during her 14-minute speech.
“For me, the time has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic Congress, and I respect that very much,” Pelosi said. “I am grateful that so many people are ready and willing to take on this great responsibility.”
The news came a day after news outlets predicted that Democrats would narrowly lose the House majority to Republicans after the midterm elections.
Pelosi, 82, has kept her future plans under wraps since the midterm elections, when Democrats outperformed expectations up and down the ballot. Republicans, who are expected to see a “red wave” that would give them an overwhelming majority in Congress, will hold a narrow lead in the House, according to NBC News estimates.
Pelosi also said the recent attack by a hammer-wielding home intruder on her husband, Paul Pelosi, would influence her decision to remain in the leadership role.
Current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is considered the frontrunner for the next speaker of Congress. On Tuesday, McCarthy won the party vote to become the Republican speaker’s nominee, although he received fewer votes than the 218 needed for the full House vote in early January.
It’s unclear how the shift in House leadership will shake up the top ranks of the Democratic Party. House majority member Steny Hoyer, M.D., has served under Pelosi for years, but the 83-year-old is not the minority leader as some Democrats are Look for newer, younger figures to start a new leadership generation of leaders.
Pelosi, elected to Congress in 1987, became the highest-ranking woman in congressional history in 2002 when she was elected the House Minority Whip following that year’s midterm elections. She became House Minority Leader in 2003 and rose to Speaker of the House in 2006 after Democrats won a majority.
During her two terms as speaker, Pelosi presided over a series of major political milestones and crises, as well as two impeachment proceedings against then-President Donald Trump.
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