ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)– Now that Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she is stepping down, New York Congressman Hakeem Jefferies, who represents parts of New York City, is being seen as a front runner to take over as party leader for the Democrats.
The Congressman announced his bid on Friday. Currently, he is the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, making him the 5th highest ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives.
“He will be a minority leader, so he won’t have quite the same clout as Speaker of the House would,” explained Grant Reeher, Political Science Professor at Syracuse University.
Reeher said if Jefferies gets the position, he will partner with New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the highest ranking Democrat in the Senate.
On the GOP side, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik is the third highest ranking Republican in the House. In an interview, with News 10 in Albany, she talked about what her leadership role means for the state.
“It’s great for New York and it’s great for my district,” said Stefanik. “And make sure that at the highest level we have a seat at the table. We can also ensure that legislation that is important to the North Country and important Upstate New York, and of course America is able to be brought to the house floor.”
According to Reeher, New York State not only has a leadership advantage, but a vulnerability advantage now that four New York Congressional seats flipped Republican— ultimately helping the party reach majority in the House of Representatives.
“The Republicans will be very keen on retraining those seats. And one of the ways they will be able to do that, and this is done often— this is not something unusual, is to help them by directing funding when it’s available and when it’s possible, back to those districts.”