The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who intends to become Speaker of the House if Democrats win the November midterm elections, “has quietly been grooming potential successors, among them Rep. Adam Schiff.”
Pelosi told the Times that while she intended to run for Speaker, she did not intend on serving forever: “I have things to do. Books to write; places to go; grandchildren, first and foremost, to love.”
The Times noted that Pelosi “has no plans to try to force a choice,” though she would be happy to hand the gavel to another woman. Pelosi also said: ““Whoever is next is not up to me. … If I were saying, ‘I want so-and-so to be my successor,’ that’s not right.”
However, Pelosi has her favorites in the caucus. Schiff would be an interesting choice. A fellow Californian, he has handled top portfolios, and currently serves as the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee. For most of the past two years, Schiff has been a ubiquitous presence on cable news, driving the story — which critics call a conspiracy theory — of Russian “collusion” with President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. That performance has made Schiff a villain, to Republicans, but a hero to Democrats eager to see Trump impeached.
Few have dared challenge Pelosi’s leadership — even after she led her party to historic losses in the 2010 midterms. Former Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) tried in 2010, and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) tried in 2016 — both without success.
Pelosi has made unusual leadership choices before. Shortly after the 2006 midterms, which elevated her to Speaker, she backed the late Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), who was known to have ethical problems, as her deputy. She lost that fight and accepted Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) instead.