House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Nov. 17 announced she would step down from the House Democrat leadership after Republicans flipped the lower chamber.
“Scripture teaches us that for everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven,” Pelosi said on the House floor in Washington.
“For me, the hour’s come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect, and I am grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility,” she added later.
Pelosi, 82, also said that she will remain in Congress.
Pelosi won reelection in the midterms with 84 percent of the vote, easily defeating Republican John Dennis.
During the speech, which frequently drew applause, Pelosi recounted visiting the Capitol for the first time when she was young, with her father Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., a congressman at the time.
“When I first came to the House floor at 6 years old, never would I have thought that I would go from homemaker to House speaker,” she said.
Pelosi has been the top Democrat in the House since 2003, including several stints as speaker, a position held by a member of the majority.
Pelosi had vowed not to run for speaker again but did not make any promises about being the top Democrat in the House if Democrats were in the minority.
Republicans flipped the House this week and will secure control once the new Congress takes their seats in January 2023.
Pelosi has not endorsed a successor.
Pelosi’s comments came after a report that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has chosen not to run for a House Democrat leadership position.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), who has long been rumored as the frontrunner to replace Pelosi, now has one less contender to deal with, Politico reported.
Spokespersons for Schiff, 62, and Jeffries, 52, did not respond to requests for comment.
Jeffries is currently the chairman of the Democrat caucus.
The other Democrat leadership posts are held by Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), James Clyburn (D-S.C.), and Katherine Clark (D-Mass.).
Hoyer, 83, is the majority leader. Clyburn, 82, is the majority whip. Clark, 59, is the assistant speaker.
Neither Hoyer nor Clyburn have committed to not running for a Democrat leadership position.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), 56, the head of the House Democrat campaign arm, is out of the picture after losing to Republican Mike Lawler in the race to represent New York’s 17th Congressional District.
A number of members spoke out in support of Pelosi before her speech, including Reps. Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), and Joe Wilson (R-S.C.).
After the speech, numerous members embraced Pelosi.
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the G.O.A.T. Thank you for all that you have done for America,” Jeffries said in a statement. GOAT stands for greatest of all time.
House Democrats are scheduled to vote on their leaders on Nov. 30. House Republicans already chose House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as their speaker candidate, and selected their other leaders.
“It is official. One-party Democrat rule is finished,” McCarthy said on Fox News on Wednesday night. “We have fired Nancy Pelosi.”