Rep. Elisha Slotkin said Sunday she will support President Joe Biden if he becomes 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 Democrat from Michigan stressed that the party needs “new blood” in both chambers of Congress as well as the White House.
“He is the acting president. If he decides to run again, I will support him. The party will support him,” he said of Biden. “This, you know, has a long history in our country. However, I have said a lot, including with my own leadership in the House, that we need a new generation, we need new blood, period, throughout the Democratic Party in the House, the Senate and the White House. I think the country says 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. Currently, older Americans have held onto power longer than any previous generation, in part because of increasing longevity, falling birth rates and the huge number of baby boomers (currently between the ages of 58 and 76).
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 lack leadership 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 out of touch with the needs of Americans.
“I am one of the few members of Congress who has not voted for Nancy Pelosi for speaker. And I said, I think we need new leaders. I’d love to see some midwestern team leaders, right? That was important to me, is to reflect the middle of the country. We’re here too,” Slotkin said. “But I think new blood is good — but if the sitting president of the United States decides to run, we’ll support him.”
Biden told the Rev. Al Sharpton last month that he plans to run for re-election in 2024, NBC News reported last week. The 79-year-old reportedly confirmed the news while posing for a photo at the White House with the civil rights activist and MSNBC host.
Slotkin, a moderate Democrat, is seeking a third term and faces Republican challenger Tom Barrett in November. The former CIA and Pentagon official represents a conservative 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 closely-fought races of the cycle.