Hakeem Jeffries elected Democratic Party leader in House

Representative taking over Nancy Pelosi's long-time role becomes first black leader for any party caucus in Congress

Hakeem Jeffries speaks with other members of Congress inside the room where the House Democratic leadership elections take place on Capitol Hill in Washington. Reuters
Powered by automated translation

Democrats in the US House of Representatives on Wednesday elected Hakeem Jeffries as their new leader in the chamber, making him the first black person to head a major party caucus in Congress.

Mr Jeffries ran unopposed and was voted in to lead the party in 2023 after long-time leader Nancy Pelosi announced plans to step down earlier this month.

“The hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus,” Ms Pelosi said when announcing her resignation from the leadership after 30 years of service.

Mr Jeffries, 52, has served as a representative of Brooklyn, New York, since 2013 and has played a role in Democratic leadership since 2019.

"Humbled to be elected incoming House Democratic Leader," he tweeted after the closed-door vote.

His election signals a generational leadership change for the Democratic Party in the House.

His colleague Pete Aguilar was elected as Democratic Caucus chairman.

“I am so proud to serve alongside Hakeem in House Democratic Leadership,” he said in a statement on Twitter.

Katherine Clark was elected Democratic Whip.

The three will lead the Democrats as the minority party in the House after the Republicans gained a slim majority in the midterm elections.

Kevin McCarthy was elected Republican Party leader in the House and will make a run for House speaker when the new Congress convenes in January.

He may potentially face difficulties in securing the position, however, as, with the Republicans' narrow majority, Mr McCarthy can only afford to lose a handful of votes from members of his party.

Updated: November 30, 2022, 5:47 PM