The members with the likeliest shot, according to more than 20 Democratic lawmakers and aides, include Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, currently the No. 3 House Democrat; Hakeem Jeffries of New York; Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, current chairman of the CBC; Elijah Cummings of Maryland; and Marcia Fudge of Ohio.

“I think it’s more than a possibility. It’s a probability,” said Fudge of the likelihood of a black speaker in 2019. Fudge strongly backs Clyburn for the job.

Electing a black lawmaker to the top job in the House — putting that Democrat in line to the presidency right after the vice president — would be a remarkable milestone. No African-American lawmaker has ever run a party caucus in either chamber or risen higher than majority whip, the No. 3 post, in the House leadership. Prior to Clyburn, the late Rep. William Gray III of Pennsylvania served as House majority whip from 1989 to 1991.