Hoyer demurs when asked about eyeing Pelosi’s position. He describes House Democratic leadership as a “team thing.”
At 74, Hoyer shows no signs of slowing down, continuing to raise funds at a fast clip and travel on behalf of candidates. Hoyer was the DCCC’s biggest member contributor, giving $1.1 million, and he raised about another $5 million for the DCCC. He also made campaign stops for 87 members and candidates.
Ambitious and driven, he’s frequently asked if he has his eyes on the top job when Pelosi steps aside. Ever the politician, Hoyer just smiles and demurs. He describes House Democratic leadership as a “team thing,” and his past rival Pelosi recognizes that quality in him.
“When he is persuading someone about a point of view, it isn’t a standard partisan line; it’s a, ‘I believe in the big picture, I understand it, this is the better course of action,’” Pelosi said. “He understands that we all have a role to the entire House of Representatives.”
For Hoyer, courting members begins at the start of each new Congress, when he takes Democratic freshmen on a tour of the Capitol.
They end on the House floor, where Hoyer reads them a quote from one of his favorite political philosophers.
“It’s a comment by Edmund Burke, who says that every member owes his closest attention and time to his constituents — that he owes them careful consideration of their views, their suggestions, and their concerns. But in the final analysis, what he owes them the most is his or her best judgment,” Hoyer said.
“And obviously one of the reasons we’re leaders is because they believe we have good judgment and can give good advice,” he said. “Or we wouldn’t be leaders.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.