Schiff passes on Dem leadership bid as Pelosi’s future stays murky

Adam Schiff has decided not to seek a top House Democratic leadership post in the next Congress and is instead turning his focus to a potential Senate run, according to multiple people familiar with his decision.

The California Democrat has privately weighed his future in recent months, meeting with Democratic colleagues to gauge support for a potential House leadership bid. Schiff had mulled a bid for the caucus’ No. 1 role — likely to be minority leader, as Republicans are just one seat away from flipping the House after last Tuesday’s election — though he had not officially jumped into the race.

One of the party’s top fundraisers, Schiff honed his brand as an anti-Donald Trump crusader as Intelligence Committee chair and a manager of the former president’s first impeachment. Now he’s instead looking toward a Senate campaign in 2024, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) expected to not seek another term. One potential wrinkle for Schiff there: California Gov. Gavin Newsom has committed to naming a Black woman to Feinstein’s Senate seat if she chooses to retire before her term is over.

Privately, several Democrats acknowledged it was unlikely Schiff could make up ground to threaten the current frontrunner for the caucus’ top post, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.). While Jeffries has steadily built up support, a huge question continues to hang over him — and the entire caucus: Whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi will decide to step down as party leader after 20 years.

Pelosi is widely expected to announce her decision this week, as soon as control of the House is officially called for Republicans.

Schiff’s future in the House will look different in at least one major way next year: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has vowed to block him from serving as the intelligence panel’s top Democrat. Schiff has faced withering GOP criticism for his handling of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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