WASHINGTON — Nancy Pelosi just won what may be her final term as speaker — and the battle to succeed her is just beginning.

House Democrats are already starting to shift their focus toward a bloc of ambitious colleagues jockeying to take over when she finally steps aside, even as Pelosi maintains a firm hold on her caucus.

Pelosi, for her part, has said publicly and privately it's up to the caucus to choose its leaders and she has no plan to pick a successor.

“I don’t think anybody should be considered the heir apparent to that seat,” added Wild, who is starting her second term.

Publicly, most Democrats insist they are focused on President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and looking to Pelosi’s leadership to muscle his agenda — particularly more Covid relief — through a narrowly divided House. But privately, Democratic lawmakers and aides acknowledge they’re already bracing for the inevitable tension that could arise between the most powerful speaker in a lifetime and the Democrats auditioning to replace her and her longtime deputies.

Democrats are already closely watching the small cadre of their colleagues whose names have been floated for the top jobs, including Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, former Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass, and House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff for speaker. Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark, Vice Chair Pete Aguilar and Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal are all also mentioned for high ranking positions.

None has publicly confirmed any potential ambitions — to do so would be considered taboo within the caucus. But all have advantages that could help them advance if there’s a leadership vacuum at the top.

Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Clark (D-Mass.) both have prominent leadership posts, giving them experience, fundraising prowess, and a built-in base of support; Schiff (D-Calif.) is a powerhouse fundraiser and close Pelosi ally; Bass (D-Calif.) has proven experience as speaker in the California State Assembly and former head of the influential Congressional Black Caucus.


Original story here.