Rep. Jeffries frontrunner as potential Pelosi replacement

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Rep. Jeffries frontrunner as potential Pelosi replacement

Brooklyn is poised to have a leader in the House.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, long considered a frontrunner to replace House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, may have his moment as minority leader if Democrats lose control of the chamber and Pelosi steps down, insiders told The Post.

Jeffries, 52, who lives in Prospect Heights and represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens, is the fifth-ranking Democrat in Congress as caucus chair and has made it known he wants to move up.

“He’s been itching for that role as long as he could itch,” said one Capitol Hill insider, who noted Jeffries has been having ongoing conversations with fellow Dems about running for leader.

“Hakeem will profess his close association with Nancy,” the source said. “She has put him in leadership so there’s a relationship there. I know she doesn’t want to necessarily pick someone. She sort of wants an organic process to play out.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California is also said to be vying for the leadership role.

A picture of Nancy Pelosi.
Nancy Pelosi is the current Speaker of the US House of Representatives.
AP

Jeffries is generally well-liked among colleagues, except for the more left-leaning wing of the party.

“There are some who are concerned he was a little too close to Andrew Cuomo and what that might mean for just optics,” the insider said.

Jeffries said in a 2018 interview that Cuomo had “done a phenomenal job over the last eight years.” But he called for Cuomo’s resignation in August 2021 after Attorney General Letitia James released her report on the governor’s alleged sexual misconduct.

Carly Cooperman, a Democratic strategist and CEO of Schoen Cooperman Research, said Jeffries should be able to shake off the Cuomo connection.

“There’s so much else that he has going for him that that is something he can work around,” Cooperman said.

A picture of U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.
Rep. Jeffries, who lives in Prospect Heights and represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens, is the fifth-ranking Democrat in Congress as caucus chair.
AFP via Getty Images

But another Democratic strategist said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx/Queens) and her socialist “Squad” would not go for Jeffries.

“Not only has he personally not worked to reach out to progressives over the course of his growth to possible majority leader/minority leader, his policies haven’t either,” the strategist said.

Jeffries is serving his fifth term in Congress, first elected in 2012 after representing Brooklyn in the state Assembly. He was raised in Crown Heights and graduated from Midwood High School and NYU Law School.

Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf said Jeffries was a centrist and “a really smart inside player” with a good chance to gain the top job.

A picture of Hakeem  Jeffries and Nancy Pelosi greeting each other.
Ken Frydman, CEO of Manhattan’s Source Communications, called Jeffries “a solid choice to replace Pelosi as leader of the House Democrats.”
Ron Sachs – CNP

“He’s a serious guy. He’s a lawyer. He’s educated. He’s well trained,” he said. “He’s a born legislator.”

Ken Frydman, CEO of Manhattan strategic consulting firm Source Communications, called Jeffries “a solid choice to replace Pelosi as leader of the House Democrats.” 

A spokesman for the congressman would not comment on future plans.

“Rep. Jeffries is focused on making sure that every single vote is counted throughout the country and preparing to complete the business of the people this year,” he said.

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