Democrats nominate Pelosi to be speaker but with significant defections

Minnie Murray
November 29, 2018

Nancy Pelosi is poised to win the nomination of her caucus for Speaker of the House, but Wednesday's leadership elections are a precursor to the real drama coming on the first day of the new Congress.

Nancy Pelosi enters the House Democratic leadership elections Wednesday in an unusual position: She's running unopposed.

Leader Pelosi, if you wish to be the Democrats' Speaker of the House and truly represent the ideas your constituents and Party it is time you joined the vast majority of Democrats by embracing Medicare for All.

Pelosi's Democratic detractors promise they won't vote for her on the floor, and with 16 Democrats now signed onto a letter making that promise, on top of about a half-dozen freshman Democrats who ran for Congress by vowing to not support Pelosi and continuing to say they'll uphold their promise, Pelosi still has a vote problem ― albeit one that she potentially has ways out of. Are there dissenters? Yes. "We all have an equal vote when we go on the floor, and I think we really have to work having an equal voice in our caucus in setting priorities".

"Right now, Leader Pelosi will not have the 218 votes necessary to become speaker", Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, who has said he won't vote for Pelosi, said Wednesday. "Many of the things I spoke about on the campaign, and we have to acknowledge that, we have to make a path where we're bringing people along and positioning people for leadership and she acknowledged that she thought that was important and she flat out asked me for my support". They have pledged to vote against her and say she doesn't have enough support to win the floor vote, even as some of their members have reversed course to say they're open to voting for her.

As House Democrats met in private in the Capitol, they faced a simple "yes" or "no" choice on Pelosi for speaker. "The American people sent Democrats to Congress so that we would fight for the values they care about and to act as a check on this administration", Hayes said. She served as the vice chair of recruitment for House Democrats' campaign arm, then as co-leader of its effort to flip more than 90 Republican-held seats to the blue column.

Representative Gerry Connolly said the opponents lacked a game plan for vanquishing Pelosi.

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Some members of that group emerged from a meeting with Pelosi on Wednesday declaring themselves unmoved and still unwilling to back her.

Those trying to oust Pelosi say they always knew the internal caucus election would fall in her favor.

Some are among about a dozen freshmen who had said they want new leadership, but others didn't sign the letter, aides said.

"For some reason, I was told that she viewed me as a big get for her", Higgins said.

During the debate about her nomination, Ms Pelosi received support from top Democrats such as civil rights leader and congressman John Lewis, former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State John Kerry. "Unfortunately, our concerns were dismissed outright", Rice said.

But the strength of Pelosi's candidacy was shown in the long line of those nominating her, starting with Rep. Joe Kennedy of MA, the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, and no fewer than eight colleagues seconding the choice, including Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, the civil rights leader, and three newly elected lawmakers.

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