Democrats on Capitol Hill and K Street are increasingly convinced that Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have little interest in being Minority Leader -- and may start preparing to leave Congress altogether -- if Republicans win the House next week.
Pelosi and her allies adamantly refuse to entertain questions about a possible Democratic minority. But Democratic sources say they have a hard time imagining the 70-year-old, independently wealthy California Democrat would want to return to the less-powerful post that she held for four years before becoming Speaker in 2007, particularly after having spent the past four years driving the Congressional agenda.
Should Republicans sweep into power on Nov. 2, the pivotal question that some Democrats have begun contemplating is one of timing: Does Pelosi step aside immediately, or does she stick around for a few months as Minority Leader to help smooth the transition to her successor? Both scenarios assume Pelosi heads for the exits within a few weeks or months.