Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has announced her plan to take over as House speaker, even though a significant number of House Democrats have said they will not support her.
“I intend to win the speakership with Democratic votes. ... I have overwhelming support in my caucus to be speaker of the House,” the San Francisco liberal said Thursday at a news conference. “I happen to think that at this point, I’m the best person for that.”
Following their successes in the Nov. 6 election, Democrats will control the House of Representatives in the next Congress, while Republicans will still hold the gavel in the Senate.
Pelosi, 78, previously served as speaker from 2007 to 2011. She has been in the House since 1987.
Will anyone challenge her?
Although it's not official, there is speculation that Rep. Marcia Fudge, a liberal Democrat from northeastern Ohio and the former head of the Congressional Black Caucus, could challenge Pelosi, the HuffPost reported Thursday. Fudge, 66, supported Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan’s failed attempt to unseat Pelosi as Democratic leader in 2016.
Fudge told the news outlet she is “overwhelmed" with the number of people reaching out to her to support her in a potential bid to become the House speaker.
“I don’t hate Nancy,” Fudge told HuffPost. “I think Nancy has been a very good leader. I just think it’s time for a new one.”
Other Democrats have echoed the concern that younger Democrats should begin assuming leadership roles.
“I don’t have a pitch because at this point I’ve not decided I’m going to run,” Fudge told the news outlet. “But I would say this: My concern about the caucus is the same concern I have about the country. Just as there is this undertone of racism in the country, there’s also that in our caucus.”
What about Pelosi?
On the other hand, Pelosi’s supporters believe she can serve as an effective challenge to President Donald Trump in Washington. They also see Pelosi as a key advocate for issues such as climate change and raising the federal minimum wage.
Last week, Pelosi sent a letter to her colleagues asking for support in her bid to become the next speaker. She also said during a CNN interview that she is 100 percent confident she will win.
When is the vote?
The Democratic caucus will pick a candidate for speaker on Nov. 28. If selected, Pelosi would need 218 total votes when the full House votes Jan. 3.
Seventeen Democrats have reportedly signed a letter stating they would not support her during a House floor vote. Pelosi dismissed that by saying 14 of the signatories were men and reporters should ask them what their motivations were, Reuters news reported.
Multiple sources have named the Democrats who have signed the letter thus far as:
● Anthony Brindisi (N.Y.)
● Jim Cooper (Tenn.)
● Joe Cunningham (S.C.)
● Bill Foster (Ill.)
● Marcia Fudge (Ohio)
● Brian Higgins (N.Y.)
● Stephen Lynch (Mass.)
● Ben McAdams (Utah)
● Seth Moulton (Mass.)
● Ed Perlmutter (Colo.)
● Kathleen Rice (N.Y)
● Max Rose (N.Y.)
● Tim Ryan (Ohio)
● Linda Sanchez (Calif.)
● Kurt Schrader (Ore.)
● Jeff Van Drew (N.J.)
● Filemon Vela (Texas)
The group of Democrats opposing Pelosi has not officially released its letter and the number of people on it could change, CBS News reported. The letter writers reportedly want to get at least 20 members on the list before releasing it.
Other Democrats who are likely to vote against Pelosi but are hesitant to sign the letter, the Huffington Post said, include Conor Lamb (Pa.), Dan Lipinksi (Ill.), Ron Kind (Wis.), Abigail Spanberger (Va.), Jason Crow (Colo.), Haley Stevens (Mich.), Elissa Slotkin (Mich.), Mikie Sherrill (N.J.) and Andy Kim (N.J.)"
Separately, at least 58 Democratic candidates and incumbents in August indicated they would not support Pelosi as speaker if Democrats take the House.
What other dynamics are at play?
Although the 17 "no" votes could be enough to bar Pelosi from becoming speaker, other factors are complicating the issue.
President Donald Trump last week endorsed Pelosi, a move some analysts called a strategy to keep the GOP’s favorite punching bag at the top of the Democratic caucus.
“In all fairness, Nancy Pelosi deserves to be chosen Speaker of the House by Democrats,” Trump tweeted. “If they give her a hard time, perhaps we will add some Republican votes. She has earned this great honor!”
Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) told The Hill that he and some Republicans would back Pelosi if she supports an overhaul of House rule reforms.
But Pelosi reportedly said she wants no help from Republicans.
“Oh, please,” she said. “No, never.”
“I intend to win the speakership with Democratic votes,” she told the media.
If the list of Democrats opposed to Pelosi continues to grow, would it finish her chances for becoming speaker? Maybe not, according to the Huffington Post:
Pelosi also has a number of ways she could wrangle the speaker’s gavel even if a dozen and a half members pledge to oppose her. For one, Democrats could make a new rule binding every member to vote for the Democratic nominee. Rule changes associated with that idea are already under consideration, and there’s some thought that Pelosi may try to formalize rules so that Democrats have to vote for her, though many members question how this strategy would work.