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Pelosi's Decision Freezes Top Democrat Leadership

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call
Pelosi, flanked by dozens of female Democrat lawmakers, announced her plans to stay on as minority leader, which all but shuts out new blood in the Democratic leadership.

And yet, the question of how to get new blood into the Democratic leadership team is one that rank-and-file members frequently mention.

Pelosi said her brother Tommy wasn’t “keen” on her staying, while her children were more encouraging.

The California Democrat declined to say what advice President Barack Obama had offered her, but said her House colleagues had repeatedly told her, “Don’t even think of leaving.”

Pelosi also mentioned a desire to help enact legislation to rein in campaign spending, which she said would help empower women by making politics more “civilized.”

Hoyer announced his bid for whip shortly after Pelosi’s press conference. In a letter to Democratic members, Hoyer said that colleagues had urged him to stay on as whip.

“They believe that those goals require an experienced team to lead us forward. That is why I am running for Democratic whip, and I look forward to serving with Leader Pelosi in the next Congress,” Hoyer wrote.

Clyburn announced his bid to stay on as assistant minority leader shortly after that, touting his experience as well as his ability to connect with the entire caucus.

“As a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, a former chair of the House Democratic Caucus and a former majority whip, I remain uniquely positioned to work with all seven internal caucuses of our Democratic Caucus. I have always sought to build bridges and to make sure all points of view are represented and all voices are heard at the Leadership table,” Clyburn wrote in a letter to Democratic lawmakers.

In staying on, Pelosi will revive speculation by Democrats about whether she is looking to build up a successor rather than eventually let Hoyer ascend to her spot atop the caucus.

Although Van Hollen and California Rep. Xavier Becerra — who is on his way to the caucus chairman position — have been named by insiders as Pelosi acolytes, the minority leader has showered praise on Israel in past weeks.

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