Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) isn’t showing her cards. However, the longtime Democratic leader has promised that this year will be her last at the top of the party, claiming a fast-approaching power vacuum that younger lawmakers have been salivating to fill for more than a decade. A new generation of ambitious Democrats is looking to push aside the old guard of octogenarians — Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) — yet the veteran No. 2 and No. 3 leaders have been predicting a different scenario, reaching out to their colleagues to gauge backing about staying on, even if Pelosi calls it quits. [tweet_embed] March 11, 2022[/tweet_embed] How those leadership battles play out remains to be seen. Though with Pelosi having led the party for the last 19 years — and with Democrats facing long odds of keeping control of the House after the coming midterm elections — the emerging internal consensus has it that this year will be her swan song on Capitol Hill. “My gut would tell me that this would be her last term,” announced House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), a member of Pelosi’s leadership team who already sees proof of the scramble to replace her. “I see a lot of people who would be the presumed successors donating a lot of money to their colleagues.” “If we’re in the minority,” continued another lawmaker, “I can’t imagine her wanting to do it.” [tweet_embed] March 11, 2022[/tweet_embed] Ready to seize the opportunity to grow in the ranks are the three leaders seated right below Clyburn: Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.), and Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), the caucus Vice-Chairman. While there are sure to be others in the mix competing for leadership spots — some early hypothesis surrounds Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) — some lawmakers are predicting “no wild cards” in the highest ranks next year. And Jeffries, who would be the first Black Speaker in the country’s history, seems to be the early favorite for the top spot. “I think it’s pretty clear that our next tier of leadership is going to be Hakeem, Katherine and Pete,” announced one moderate Democratic lawmaker, who, like many sources, spoke only anonymously to discuss a sensitive matter. “I think probably 80 percent of people here believe that.” [tweet_embed] March 11, 2022[/tweet_embed] Some of Pelosi’s top allies are pressing her to stay on, stating they don’t see anyone who could fill her shoes. Even at 81, Pelosi is a ball of energy in constant motion on Capitol Hill and holds the undisputed title as Democrats’ most successful fundraiser in Congress. She’s raked in more than $1 billion for her party since she joined the leadership ranks in 2002, a spokesman announced, dwarfing amounts raised by others like Hoyer and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).