Can Nancy Pelosi Survive a Challenge From Within Her Own Party?
A coalition of Democrats is building who are pushing for change in leadership, banking on recent election success as a sign of the demand for change.
Sixteen House Democrats have sworn to oppose Rep. Nancy Pelosi as the next House Speaker. The Democrats vow to stand against Pelosi in an internal caucus election and on Jan. 3. The opposition includes 11 current representatives, four newly elected House members, and Ben McAdams who is competing against Republican Rep. Mia Love in a too-close-to-call race.
The 16 opposing Democrats made their intentions known in a letter sent to other members. The letter read that the signatories were “committed to voting for new leadership” rather than have Pelosi reclaim the position again. The letter notes that the Democrats had earlier promised to keep Pelosi out, and they will be seeing the promise through.
“We are thankful to Leader Pelosi for her years of service to our Country and to our Caucus,” they wrote. “However, we also recognize that in this recent election, Democrats ran on and won on a message of change.”
With 232 seats already won by Democrats, and five House races still uncalled, Pelosi can only afford to lose between 14 and 19 Democratic votes and still clinch the position. While the House Minority Leader contends that her colleagues want her out because she is a woman, the opposing members said this is far from the truth since they won the majority leadership based on the prospect of “change.”
Pelosi is banking on the support of the majority of her party members to see herself back as House Speaker. She is also resting on the will of thousands of fans on and outside Capitol Hill, with several liberal advocacy groups campaigning for her in light of her legislative and fundraising achievements. One major consideration for her supporters is her ability to confront Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or even President Donald Trump.
All hope for Pelosi, however, is not lost with Pelosi in the face of the 16 opposing members. If she can get the members to vote “present,” the rebellious group would succeed at not voting for her, but their votes would reduce the Democratic votes required to achieve her goals.
The opposing members include
- Jim Cooper of Tennessee
- Bill Foster of Illinois
- Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts
- Ed Perlmutter of Colorado
- Kathleen Rice of New York
- Brian Higgins of New York
- Tim Ryan of Ohio
- Linda Sanchez of California
- Kurt Schrader of Oregon
- Filemon Vela of Texas
- Rep.-elect Anthony Brindisi
- Max Rose of New York
- Joe Cunningham of South Carolina
- Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey
- Seth Moulton of Massachusetts
- Ben McAdams of Utah
It must, however, be noted that some others opposing Pelosi have chosen not to sign the letter, so they’re not counted as part of the 16. These include Rep.-elect Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) among others.
A secret ballot will take place on Nov. 28 when House Democrats nominate a new speaker, but a final vote isn’t until Jan. 3 after the new Congress convenes for the first time. While Pelosi may perform well on Nov. 28, her performance and emergence as new House Speaker on Jan. 3 is still very uncertain.