Nancy Pelosi chosen as House Democrats' pick for speaker in leadership elections

Geneva Stokes
November 29, 2018

"We remain united behind our goal of new leadership and intend to vote against Leader Pelosi in Caucus and on the Floor of the House", Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. First, Democrats continued to win House races that had been too close to call on election night, slowly building their majority to what could ultimately be a 40-seat gain.

Sixteen members and members-elect have signed a letter promising they will not support Pelosi, but already one has backtracked and others have said they will support Pelosi only if there is no one else running, as now appears to be the case. Nobody came to me, and at this point, I think it's unreasonable for anyone to expect a vote when they haven't even asked.

"The 116th Congress presents a new opportunity to make tangible progress on climate, on clean air, and on clean water - and I know Nancy Pelosi is up to the challenge because I've seen it before".

Between now and January, Pelosi will work the levers of power by doling out the many committee seat assignments, subcommittee chairmanships and other perks she is able to offer, or withhold, as incentives.

In fact, Democrats voted to return their entire top leadership team, including Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland in the No. 2 spot as majority leader and Rep. Jim Clyburn of SC in the No. 3 spot as whip.

Clark announced early on that she is backing Pelosi for speaker, and Pelosi prevailed in the caucus vote, though 32 Democrats opposed her.

"We all agree that history is in a hurry, and we need to accelerate the pace of change in Congress", she said.

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Democratic opposition to Pelosi, led by Representative Seth Moulton of MA, has waned in recent weeks.

Congressman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina said he backed Lee because "she has the institutional knowledge and the ability to bring all the different caucuses in harmony".

Moments before the speaker vote, Pelosi failed to satisfy some Democrats demanding a new leader. And a handful of Democratic lawmakers are still vowing to vote against her speakership.

A leading critic of Pelosi, Representative Tim Ryan, left a morning session refusing to comment on whether he thought his group of dissenters can stop her from becoming speaker.

No one has stepped forward to directly challenge Pelosi in Wednesday's party election. Hoyer, the current minority whip, is running to become majority leader in the new Congress. Clyburn, the current assistant Democratic leader, is running to become majority whip. She'll be the only one who ran for, and won, the nomination for speaker.

Leah Greenberg, a co-founder of the progressive grassroots group Indivisible, said opposition to Pelosi was coming from a small group of moderates "who are to the right of the party".

McAdams campaign had criticized Love, saying she put party first, and pointed to statistics indicating she voted with President Donald Trump more than 95 percent of the time. Nine members of that group of centrists that had been threatening to vote against her unless she agreed to some rule changes, numbers that combined with the 20-odd Democrats promising to oppose Pelosi could have given her real problems on the House floor on January 3. And Brindisi said there are things they can agree on.

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