Schiff sidesteps question on seeking to become Speaker if Pelosi steps down
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Sunday avoided a question about whether he would seek to become the next House Speaker if California Democrat Nancy Pelosi steps down from the post.
Instead, Schiff said he was focused on ensuring Democrats win the midterm elections and retain control of the House.
“The Speaker has been truly the most impressive and credible and productive Speaker in our history. So I hope that she will stay,” Schiff told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“If she makes the decision not to stay, right now, all I’m focused on is making sure that we are successful in this midterm, that we have a majority to pick the next Speaker.”
Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is one of several Democrats thought to be in the mix to replace Pelosi, who has promised that this current session would be her last with the Speaker’s gavel.
According to the research group OpenSecrets, Schiff has far outraised other potential contenders for Speaker, including Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.).
Schiff has raised more than $15 million this midterm cycle, while the closest Speaker hopeful, Jeffries, has raised around $4 million.
However, Democrats are widely expected to lose control of the House in November’s midterm elections, given economic anxiety and historical headwinds facing the president’s party.
Pelosi, who was first chosen as Speaker in 2007, faced a revolt from first-term Democrats and progressives following the 2018 election. To secure their support, she vowed to serve a maximum of two more terms as Speaker before giving up the gavel.
As chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Schiff has shared a spot in the limelight amid Democratic efforts to take on former President Trump.
He led investigations into the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and into the former president’s 2019 phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whom Trump asked to help dig up dirt on President Biden ahead of the 2020 election.
Schiff also serves on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, which held a series of high-profile hearings this summer.
But some Democrats told The Hill earlier this year that those vying for Speaker, including Clyburn and Hoyer, are not likely to give up without a fight. That could set the stage for some messy infighting if Democrats keep control of the lower chamber in November or retake control in 2024.