Pelosi announces she will not run for leadership post after GOP wins House

By Maegan Vazquez, Adrienne Vogt, Maureen Chowdhury, Elise Hammond and Matt Meyer, CNN

Updated 5:34 p.m. ET, November 17, 2022
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4:08 p.m. ET, November 17, 2022

Ocasio-Cortez says Pelosi’s decision marks "a sea change in American politics"

From CNN's Annie Grayer

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talks to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on November 17.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talks to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on November 17. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told CNN that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to not run for leadership marks "a sea change in American politics, and it will have profound ramifications.” 

“What we just witnessed was undoubtedly one of the most historically significant moments in American history,” the progressive New York Democrat said. 

The relationship between Ocasio-Cortez and Pelosi has at times been strained and even confrontational, but she sung Pelosi's praises in the wake of the announcement.  

Speaking about Pelosi’s career, Ocasio-Cortez said to “witness a transition of a 40-year member of Congress who ascended to the speaker, served as the first woman to be third in line to the presidency — this is a sea change in American politics, and it will have profound ramifications. And her leadership has had profound ramifications for the United States of America.”

Ocasio-Cortez declined to weigh in on who she would like to see replace Pelosi and her leadership team. 

“I think in the direct aftermath of such a profound moment, it's a bit of whiplash right now to try to dive into the weeds of that but I do think that this you know, her broader point of have a deeper generational shift is a well taken one,” she said.

2:22 p.m. ET, November 17, 2022

Clyburn signals he will step aside and let a new trio lead House Democrats

From CNN's Manu Raju, Daniella Diaz and Maegan Vazquez

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn speaks at a press conference on August 15.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn speaks at a press conference on August 15. (Tracy Glantz/The State/Tribune News Service/Getty Images)

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn issued a statement paving the way for a new trio to lead House Democrats following Nancy Pelosi's decision to step down as speaker.  

“Speaker Pelosi has left an indelible mark on Congress and the country, and I look forward to her continued service and doing whatever I can to assist our new generation of Democratic Leaders which I hope to be Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark, and Pete Aguilar,” Clyburn said in a statement.

The trio was spotted sitting next to Clyburn and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer during Pelosi's announcement. And Jeffries has been pitching himself to members with Clark and Aguilar as the No. 1, 2 and 3 for the caucus in leadership. 

In a recent statement about Pelosi's decision to step down as speaker, Clark did not mention her own leadership aspirations.

1:59 p.m. ET, November 17, 2022

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries will likely run unopposed as Democratic leader

From CNN's Daniella Diaz

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries speaks at a press conference at the Capitol on April 5.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries speaks at a press conference at the Capitol on April 5. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images)

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat from New York, has always been seen as the favorite to serve as Democratic leader should House Speaker Nancy Pelosi step away from leadership.

Now that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced he is not running for House leadership, it all but guarantees Jeffries will be leader of the caucus, because he will likely run unopposed.

Jeffries is the current chair of the House Democratic Caucus and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, said Wednesday that he won't seek a leadership position and Rep. Jim Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, has also said he wouldn’t run for party leader.

"I'm not going to get involved in making my choice in this public way. But I have said to both of (Hoyer and Jeffries) that I will not pursue the position of Leader of our party," Clyburn said on “CNN This Morning” Wednesday.

Jeffries has been pitching himself to members, with Reps. Katherine Clark and Pete Aguilar as the No. 1, 2 and 3 for the caucus in leadership. 

1:12 p.m. ET, November 17, 2022

Pelosi wouldn’t say who’d she support as Democratic leader to succeed her

From CNN's Ali Zaslav and Ted Barrett

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of speaks on the House floor at the Capitol in Washington, DC, on November 17.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of speaks on the House floor at the Capitol in Washington, DC, on November 17. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Coming off the House floor, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t say who’d she support as Democratic leader to succeed her. She indicated that now is not the time to make that decision.

Asked how she had prepared two versions of her speech and when she made a final decision, Pelosi said: "I didn't come here with two versions," suggesting she made her decision before coming in to the Capitol today. 

Also of note, as Pelosi entered her office you could hear over one minute of loud cheering and clapping, presumably from her staff and others who were there. 

2:20 p.m. ET, November 17, 2022

A look at Pelosi's path to the House speakership — and how she made history 

From CNN's Clare Foran and Annie Grayer

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi waves after being elected as the first woman speaker in 2007.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi waves after being elected as the first woman speaker in 2007. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a towering figure in American politics with a history-making legacy of shattering glass ceilings as the first and so far only woman to be speaker of the US House of Representatives.

She was first elected speaker in 2007 and served in the role until 2011, when Democrats lost control of the House. In 2019, she was again elected speaker after Democrats won back the House from Republicans.

A small, but vocal, faction of Democrats initially worked to derail Pelosi’s bid to become the next speaker following the 2018 midterm elections, but she ultimately secured the votes needed to reclaim the title. Ahead of the final vote, Pelosi deployed her deal-making abilities and negotiated an agreement with some of the Democrats who had been lobbying to block her from the speakership. As part of the agreement, Pelosi backed a proposal to enact term limits for the party’s top three leaders. The 2018 deal was an informal agreement, however, and caucus rules were never changed imposing any time limits on her tenure.

Nancy Pelosi celebrates on election night in San Francisco, California, in 1987.
Nancy Pelosi celebrates on election night in San Francisco, California, in 1987. (Eric Luse/The San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images)

Pelosi was first elected to the House in 1987, when she won a special election to fill a seat representing California’s 5th Congressional District. Over the years, she has earned a reputation as a powerful and formidable leader of House Democrats who has exerted significant influence and a tight grip over members of her caucus.

She has also been a fierce adversary to Republicans in Congress and in the White House, and Republicans have made her a high-profile target of criticism by their party.

When she was first elected speaker, Pelosi reflected on the significance of the event and what it meant for women in the United States.

“This is an historic moment,” she said in a speech after accepting the speaker’s gavel. “It’s an historic moment for the Congress. It’s an historic moment for the women of America.”

Read more about Pelosi and her political career here.

1:24 p.m. ET, November 17, 2022

House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer will not run for elected leadership position next Congress

From CNN's Daniella Diaz and Manu Raju

House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer speaks on September 21, in Washington, DC.
House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer speaks on September 21, in Washington, DC. (Brian Stukes/Getty Images)

House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer will not run for elected leadership in the next Congress, following Nancy Pelosi's announcement that she will step away from the speakership.

In a letter sent to all Democratic members Thursday, Hoyer wrote, "I believe that it is time for me, however, to continue my service in a different role. Therefore, I have decided not to seek elected leadership in the 118th Congress."

He says he will continue to do his work on the Appropriations Committee, "including my focus on education, health care, and investing in America’s productive manufacturing capacity to create more jobs and opportunities for our people."

Hoyer has served with Pelosi for decades — spending 36 years in a Democratic leadership position.

"I have been honored to serve alongside Nancy Pelosi, whose tenure as Speaker was both historic and extraordinarily productive," Hoyer said in the letter.

Hoyer referenced Pelosi's floor remarks when further explaining his decision, telling reporters he believes there are "excellent alternatives."

“You know when Nancy said there is a time and a season? I think it’s a time and a season. And I think we have excellent alternatives," he said. 

CNN's Morgan Rimmer contributed to this reporting

1:01 p.m. ET, November 17, 2022

Biden spoke to Pelosi this morning, White House says

From CNN's Sam Fossum and Maegan Vazquez

President Biden spoke with Nancy Pelosi Thursday morning and congratulated her on "her historic tenure as Speaker of the House," according to the White House. 

Biden said in a statement following her announcement stepping down from the speakership that "history will note she was the most consequential Speaker of the House of Representatives in our history."

"In everything she does," Biden wrote, "she reflects a dignity in her actions and a dignity she sees in the lives of the people of this nation."

"Because of Nancy Pelosi, the lives of millions and millions of Americans are better, even in districts represented by Republicans who voted against her bills and too often vilify her," the president continued. "That’s Nancy – always working for the dignity of all of the people."

Biden, in his statement, also recalled Pelosi's work throughout her time with the gavel and remarked that "history will also note her fierceness and resolve to protect our democracy from the violent, deadly insurrection of January 6th."

"She might be stepping down from her leadership role in the House Democratic Caucus, but she will never waiver in protecting our sacred democracy," he added, saying the nation owes her "a deep debt of gratitude for her service, her patriotism, and above all, her absolute dignity."

1:15 p.m. ET, November 17, 2022

What will Pelosi's role in the Democratic Party look like going forward?

Analysis by CNN's Melanie Zanona

Lawmakers applaud House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Capitol on November 17.
Lawmakers applaud House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Capitol on November 17. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

By declining to run for a leadership position but remaining in Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can still fill a variety of roles in the Democratic Party, CNN Capitol Hill reporter Melanie Zanona explains.

"She's going to be an adviser," Zanona said on "Inside Politics" shortly after Pelosi's speech Thursday. "Obviously we know Nancy Pelosi is a master tactician. And that's going to be hugely important for Democrats" given the Republicans' slim majority in the lower chamber.

"They can have a lot of power. They can make Kevin McCarthy's life pretty miserable if they stick together," Zanona continued. "We expect that Nancy Pelosi will still be advising, you know, informally."

12:56 p.m. ET, November 17, 2022

Schumer asked Pelosi to please "change your mind" when he found out about her decision

From CNN's Ali Zaslav and Ted Barrett

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hugs Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer after she delivered remarks from the House Chambers on November 17.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hugs Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer after she delivered remarks from the House Chambers on November 17. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Asked for his reaction after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would not seek a run for leadership again, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer clutched his chest and said he pleaded with her to change her mind.  

"When she called me... I said please change your mind. We need you here," Schumer said, as he left the House chamber.