The future of Nancy Pelosi, that sotto voce conversation topic that has been subtly ubiquitous from Capitol Hill to Cafe Milano and throughout the Bay Area, has been a mainstay of Democratic politics for some years now given the historic leader’s age and accomplishments. Over the summer, I reported, many felt that Pelosi would be stepping down if the Republicans regained the House, as was widely presumed. Her various lieutenants were already quietly politicking on Capitol Hill to take over the caucus. Hakeem Jeffries, for one, was influencing hearts and minds with Junior’s Cheesecake from his home borough of Brooklyn. Now I’m told from a very good source that Pelosi is in fact ready to move on and believes that Jeffries will be the next leader of the Democratic caucus.
This decision was privately reached days ago after it became apparent that the Democrats were unlikely to squeak out a win in the House, I was told by someone with direct knowledge on Pelosi. This is tectonic news in Washington, of course, and given the apparent past equivocations about staying in the House, I’m told that some lawmakers are still trying to draft Pelosi to stay on, likely as minority leader, for one more term. Pelosi’s team, meanwhile, stands by the notion that she has not made a decision about her future. “Nothing in this reporting is correct,” Pelosi’s spokesperson Drew Hammill told me. “As the Speaker just stated yesterday on national TV, she will make a decision once all the votes have been counted. She’s not even thinking about her future at this moment.”
Pelosi, as you might expect, has kept this decision-making process remarkably private. “She can’t as easily put out a trial balloon in the news cycle to see how the Congressional gossip mill responds, which is how leadership races usually kickoff, because she needs to keep this close to vest,” said my Pelosi insider. “Never in her whole career has the need to think and act been so simultaneous. Meanwhile, she’s been indecisive about this all along, changing her mind often.”