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Hakeem Jeffries

What Jeffries thinks about Johnson, 2024

We sat down with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries Thursday for an extensive interview about the broad implications of the 2024 election.

Jeffries had a lot to say on everything from the impact Donald Trump will have on down-ballot races to Democrats’ chances of winning the House in 2024. Plus, Jeffries dished on the top races he’s watching. We’ll have the full interview in a special edition of The Tally, publishing next Tuesday. But first, here’s a preview:

On Speaker Mike Johnson: The House’s top Democrat had some kind words for new Speaker Mike Johnson despite the DCCC going hard on the “MAGA Mike” depiction.

Jeffries and Johnson had their first meeting as leaders on Wednesday.

“I think Mike Johnson is smart,” Jeffries told us. “His philosophy is different than my philosophy. But Mike Johnson cares about America. House Democrats care about America. Let’s try to find common ground.”

Jeffries made clear, however, that he believes “every decision that Republicans have made this Congress” has “reinforced the extremism that has taken hold of the modern-day Republican [Party.]”

Then vs. now: We asked Jeffries how the political environment in 2022 compares to this cycle. Jeffries argued that Democrats massively overperformed expectations last cycle — holding onto the Senate and only narrowly losing the House — and would do so again.

Frontliners: Eighteen Republicans are sitting in districts won by President Joe Biden, all top targets for Democrats next cycle. But Jeffries also touched on Democrats’ most vulnerable members, who are in districts carried by former president Donald Trump.

Those Democrats are Reps. Jared Golden (Maine), Marcy Kaptur (Ohio) — who Jeffries called “Ms. Toledo” — Matt Cartwright (Pa.), Mary Peltola (Alaska) and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (Wash.).

“They will certainly, in my view, survive in 2024 with a much better political climate and given the resilient campaign infrastructure that they have built up,” Jeffries said.

Jeffries also nodded to key Democratic pickup opportunities in the deep south including in Alabama and Georgia and potentially Louisiana and Florida.

— Heather Caygle and Max Cohen

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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.