Nancy Pelosi isn’t done yet.
The San Francisco Democrat and first female speaker of the House told volunteers on Friday that she would seek reelection in 2024, extending a 36-year House career and freezing her would-be California successors in a long-standing holding pattern.
“Now more than ever our City needs us to advance San Francisco values and further our recovery. Our country needs America to show the world that our flag is still there, with liberty and justice for ALL. That is why I am running for reelection — and respectfully ask for your vote,” Pelosi posted shortly after on Friday.
Shortly before announcing on X, formerly known as Twitter, Pelosi told volunteers she would run again at a breakfast for them near downtown San Francisco, at the lodge of a local union for plumbers and pipefitters. She chose that venue because she wanted to tell her “closest supporters” in labor first, according to a close adviser who was granted anonymity to speak candidly. She has no other public events planned today, the person added.
Pelosi’s decision demonstrates her continued influence even after stepping aside from her Democratic leadership post. Many political observers believed she would vacate her seat when Democrats lost the House in 2022.
But Pelosi, 83, stayed on after the party posted a better-than-expected showing in November. She navigated the shift out of leadership while coping with the aftermath of a brutal attack on her husband, Paul, by an assailant who broke into the couple’s San Francisco home last October. The suspect, David DePape, was looking for the congresswoman, who was in Washington at the time. He faces a slew of state and federal charges, including an attempt to kidnap a federal official.
Pelosi’s top lieutenants, Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), similarly stepped down from their top leadership roles but have remained circumspect about their future plans. A Clyburn spokesperson said no decisions had been made yet on his reelection. A Hoyer spokesperson said there were no updates on his plans either.
One of the most prominent antagonists of former President Donald Trump, Pelosi will retain her public platform as Trump is favored to again secure the Republican presidential nomination. Her decision to stay on contrasts sharply with the impending exit of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), another long-serving California icon who is declining to seek another term amid persistent concerns about her mental acuity.
The question of Pelosi’s retirement timeline has for years animated political players in San Francisco, a resolutely progressive and politics-obsessed city that has produced a stream of national Democratic leaders, including Gov. Gavin Newsom and Vice President Kamala Harris.
The eventual departure of one of the nation’s most recognizable Democrats, who was first elected to Congress in a 1987 special election, would mark the end of an era. It would also set off a cascade of campaign moves as Democrats seize on the once-in-a-generation opportunity of an open House seat. Her seat carries symbolic significance as an anchor of progressive politics, and the jockeying will be fierce in a city defined by internecine Democratic clashes.
State Sen. Scott Wiener has effectively launched a campaign-in-waiting, and Pelosi’s daughter Christine is seen as a contender who could tap into her mother’s network of supporters and donors. Christine has not said whether she’d follow in her mother’s path. A Wiener run could trigger multiple races to represent San Francisco in the state Legislature.
“Speaker Emerita Pelosi is one of the most talented and transformational leaders of our lifetime, and it’s a good thing for San Francisco and the nation that she will continue to serve our community. Right now, I’m focused like a laser on the end of our legislative session in Sacramento,” Wiener said in a statement.
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