Election season won’t end on Nov. 6 — the Democrats and Republicans will hold leadership elections in the days after the midterms to determine who will lead their caucuses into the 116th Congress.
House Republicans will hold their elections on Nov. 14, just over a week after the midterms. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI, 1st) announced his retirement in April, opening up the race for his replacement. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA, 23rd) is widely seen as his likely successor but faces a challenge from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH, 4th). Jordan, the co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus and one of the more conservative members of the Republican caucus, also said that he would run for minority leader if the GOP loses the House in the midterms.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA, 1st) said that he will seek a higher position in the GOP leadership but clarified that he wouldn’t challenge McCarthy for the speakership. “I’ve never run against Kevin and wouldn’t run against Kevin,” he said in an interview with Fox News in April.
If Democrats regain control of the House next week, they will be tasked with electing a new speaker in their leadership elections, which will reportedly be held Nov. 28 and 29. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA, 12th) is expected to campaign for the speaker’s gavel, with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD, 5th) and Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-SC, 6th) expected to move up to majority leader and majority whip, respectively. If Pelosi doesn’t manage to drum up the support she needs to win the speakership, both Hoyer and Clyburn are considered frontrunners for the post.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-LA, 2nd) said Thursday that one of the top two leadership positions should be held by a black lawmaker. “What we need now is the reciprocity we’ve collectively earned,” Richmond wrote in a letter to his Democratic colleagues. “African Americans deserve more than a simple gesture of gratitude — they deserve representation at the apex of the party’s infrastructure.”
One position is already open after Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY, 14th) lost his primary in June. Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA, 13th) and Linda Sánchez (D-CA, 38th) have both thrown their hats in the ring to replace him.