Within minutes of Hakeem Jeffries winning a contentious House leadership battle, his supporters were already crowing that the New York Democrat was one day destined to wield the speaker’s gavel.
“What [Barack] Obama had, he has that. I call it lightning in a bottle,” said Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), who stumped for Jeffries ahead of the November party election. “I do think he’s somebody that could, with a few breaks, become our speaker and also our president. He has that talent.”
More than a few Democrats see Jeffries’ youth and Brooklyn swagger — he’s been known to quote rapper Biggie Smalls on the House floor — as the antidote for a caucus long ruled by a pack of old-school septuagenarians.