Rep. Elissa Slotkin said on Sunday that she would support President Joe Biden should he become the Democratic nominee in 2024, but the party is in desperate need of new, younger leaders.
Speaking to Kristen Welker on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the 46-year-old Michigan Democrat stressed that the party needs “new blood” in both chambers of Congress as well as in the White House.
“He’s the sitting president. If he decides to run again, I’m going to support him. The party’s going to support him,” she said of Biden. “That’s, you know, that has a long history in our country. But I have been very vocal, including with my own leadership in the House, that we need a new generation, we need new blood, period, across the Democratic Party in the House, the Senate and the White House. I think that the country has been saying that.”
In 2019, the average member of Congress was 58.6 years old, about a decade older than in 1981 and two decades older than the population at large. Presently, older Americans have held on to power longer than any previous generation partly due to rising longevity, falling birth rates and the massive number of baby boomers (currently between 58 and 76 years old).
With an average age of 82, House Democratic leaders — Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (S.C.) — have led the party in the chamber since 2007. The leadership’s lack of a clear handover plan has created tension within the party, as some potential successors have left the House and some party members have expressed that current leaders are growing more out of touch with Americans’ needs.
“I’m one of a handful of members of Congress who hasn’t voted for Nancy Pelosi as speaker. And I’ve said, I think we need new leaders. I would love to see some Midwestern leaders in there, right? That’s been important to me, is to reflect the middle of the country. We’re here too,” Slotkin said. “But I do think new blood is a good thing — but if the sitting president of the United States decides to run, we’re going to support him.”
Biden told the Rev. Al Sharpton last month that he plans to run for reelection in 2024, NBC News reported last week. The 79-year-old reportedly confirmed the news while posing for a photograph at the White House with the civil rights activist and MSNBC host.
Slotkin, a moderate Democrat, is a seeking a third term and faces Republican challenger Tom Barrett in November. The former CIA and Pentagon official represents a conservative-leaning district in Michigan, where residents tend to vote Republican. Slotkin beat incumbent Republican Mike Bishop in the 2018 midterms, one of the most closely watched and narrowly decided races of the cycle.