Opposition from several Dems threatens Pelosi’s bid to become House speaker again

Opposition from several Dems threatens Pelosi’s bid to become House speaker again
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says she is '100 percent' confident that she will win her bid for speaker of the House, despite several current and incoming Democratic House members vowing to vote against her. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is running to become speaker of the House of Representatives once again following the Democrats’ successful efforts to retake the majority in the lower chamber of Congress.

But a number of Democrats have gone on the record saying they will vote against Pelosi, setting up a possible intraparty battle over leadership that could threaten her chances.

What are the details?

Pelosi sent a letter to colleagues on Wednesday, asking for their support as she announced her run to become the next speaker, and she told CNN’s Chris Cuomo in an interview that she is “100 percent” confident that she will win.

Yet on Thursday, Politico listed 10 Democrats who confirmed to the outlet that they plan to vote against Pelosi becoming speaker, including current representatives Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Filemon Vela (D-Texas), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) and Conor Lamb (D-Pa.).

The campaigns for newly elected Democrats Abigail Spanberger and Jason Crow also declared to Politico that their bosses intend to vote against Pelosi after they take office.

CBS News reported that newcomers Max Rose, Haley Stevens, Anthony Brindisi, Jeff Van Drew, and Joe Cunningham have also publicly stated they would not support Pelosi as speaker, and columnist Caleb Howe tweeted out a complete list purportedly from the GOP on Thursday.

According to The Hill, Pelosi “likely can’t afford more than a dozen Democrats voting against her in a public floor vote for speaker.”

What’s more, a recent Gallup poll shows that a majority of Democratic voters would prefer someone other than Pelosi take the speaker’s gavel, with 56 percent saying she should be replaced, compared to 39 percent who want to keep her.

Why is she so assured that she will win?

Pelosi has led the House Democrats since 2003, and she’s been challenged before. Former Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) ran against her for Speaker in 2010, and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) ran against her in 2016.

While the leader has some heavy lifting to do, a number of pundits have cast serious doubts that Pelosi will lose. Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey wrote on Friday:

Pelosi’s not going anywhere…For one thing, she controls the donor money in the House caucus, which is why she hung on through four successive failures. Anyone who wants to run again in 2020 will need Pelosi’s help to do so, especially the most vulnerable first-timers. They can’t afford to have Pelosi take her ball and go home.

On Thursday, Slate’s Jim Newell laid out the plan for “how the former speaker will overcome the haters in her own party and cruise to leadership again” in his piece titled, “Pelosi’s Got This.”

“It simply would not make sense for the experienced Democratic leader who orchestrated (and paid for) a disciplined, health-care focused, and successful pickup of some 35 seats and the House majority to not become speaker,” Newell wrote.

The Hill’s Mike Lillis and Scott Wong pointed out on Friday that Pelosi’s critics are “struggling to find someone willing to challenge the California Democrat — even as a symbolic gesture. And Pelosi’s heavy role in securing Tuesday’s victories has both cooled the simmering rebellion against her and strengthened her case for remaining in power.”