Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is confident that she will be the next Speaker of the House for the next Congress. The Democratic caucus votes at the end of the month, and there’s a growing wing of Never Nancy Democrats who are committed to opposing her bid to reclaim the gavel. They’re not buckling. So far, 17 Democrats have vowed to not back the California liberal’s bid—and some are doing this knowing full well that retribution from the party elders could be swift and exacting (via Washington Examiner):
Seventeen Democrats will formally promise on Monday to vote against Nancy Pelosi's bid to be House speaker, a move the defectors hope will deny her the speaker’s gavel and force her to step aside.
In a letter that will be sent to their Democratic colleagues, the 17 Democrats pledge to oppose Pelosi in the caucus and floor votes for speaker. The move to oust Pelosi comes two weeks after Democrats seized control of the House with their largest majority since 1974.
“We promised to change the status quo and we intend to deliver on that promise,” the group of insurgents wrote in the letter obtained by the Washington Examiner. “Therefore, we are committed to voting for new leadership in both our Caucus meeting and on the House floor.”
1. Tim Ryan, Ohio
2. Seth Moulton, Mass.
3. Kathleen Rice, N.Y.
4. Ed Perlmutter, Colo.
5. Kurt Schrader, Ore.
6. Filemon Vela, Texas
7. Marcia Fudge, Ohio [See: UPDATE]
8. Linda Sanchez, Calif.
9. Bill Foster, Ill.
10. Brian Higgins, N.Y.
11. Jim Cooper, Tenn.
12. Stephen Lynch, Mass.
13. Jeff Van Drew, N.J.
14. Joe Cunningham, S.C.
15. Max Rose, N.Y.
16. Anthony Brindisi, N.Y. (race still uncalled)
17. Ben McAdams, Utah (race still uncalled)
Rep. Fudge has been named as a possible candidate to oppose Pelosi in the speakership race. Pelosi remains unfazed, confident she will become the next speaker. Yet, there appears to be some fears from the party elite that this could spill over into open warfare. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has already sent a letter urging the party to back Pelosi to avoid a divisive leadership battle. It seems the pieces are there. The Never Nancy wing remains defiant, united, and they have a potential candidate. Fudge and Pelosi have met, by the way, though the former has not yet decided if she actually wants to run. Yet, the Ohio congresswoman did mention that if the vote for House speaker were held now, Pelosi wouldn’t have the votes (via Politico):
Nancy Pelosi sat face to face with her potential challenger, Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio, on Friday as the California Democrat continued her fight to reclaim the speaker’s gavel.
The two women huddled at the behest of incoming House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), a key Pelosi ally and senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus who is also close with Fudge, the CBC’s former chairwoman.
Fudge has not formally announced her candidacy. But even floating herself as a potential speaker challenger has scrambled Pelosi's effort to lock down the 218 votes needed to win. Fudge would be the first black woman in leadership and first African-American speaker.
Fudge repeatedly said on Friday that Pelosi doesn't have the votes to win a speakership fight on the floor, stating "If the vote were taken today, she does not have the votes to be speaker of the House. I don’t think I do, either, right now."
Prior to her meeting with Pelosi, Fudge suggested she might take a few weeks to decide whether to run. Democrats are set to nominate a speaker in a closed-door caucus meeting on Nov. 28, after they return from the Thanksgiving Day recess.
But while many expected that Fudge would want to be on the ballot for that vote, Fudge said she could wait to announce her bid until after Pelosi likely wins the Democratic nomination. Pelosi needs support from only half the Democratic Caucus for that vote. The more difficult test is on Jan. 3 on the House floor, where 218 votes — or a majority of those members present and voting — are required and Pelosi has little room for error.
Three House races still need to be called, but as of now, Democrats have picked up 37 seats in the 2018 midterms. They will be coming into the new Congress with 232 members. There are 17 defections, with 198 Republicans obviously not voting for Pelosi. You do the math.
UPDATE: Public Opposition Growing?
Politico’s Rachael Bade says Nancy’s bid is “imperiled” right now, nothing is certain.
.@NancyPelosi has a math problem: 15 members or members-elect say they wont vote for her. Right now she can only lose 15 on the floor. If Ds pick up the last 3 seats, she can lose 18. BUT this letter DOES NOT include at least 3 others who won't back her who didn't sign the letter— Rachael Bade (@rachaelmbade) November 19, 2018
UPDATE II: Fudge not signing, mulling decision to formally run against Pelosi (via WaPo):
Sixteen House Democrats said Monday that they will vote to deny Rep. Nancy Pelosi another stint as House speaker, a show of defiance that puts her opponents on the cusp of forcing a seismic leadership shake-up as their party prepares to take the majority.
The signers might not be able to force Pelosi out themselves. The size of the Democratic majority remains in flux, but Democrats have already won 232 seats, according to the Associated Press, with five races still undecided.
All those races have Republican incumbents, but the Democratic challenger is ahead in only one of them. If the current leads hold in the uncalled races, Democrats would have won 233 seats — a 16-seat majority.
That means Pelosi could lose as many as 15 Democratic votes when she stands for election as speaker on Jan. 3. One of the 16 signers, Ben McAdams (Utah), is now trailing Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) and might never cast a speaker vote.
Not signing the letter is Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio), who has publicly opposed Pelosi and is now mulling a run against her. Fudge said Friday she would not make a final decision on whether to run until next week at the earliest.
Another five Democrats — Rep. Conor Lamb (Pa.), and Reps.-elect Jason Crow (Colo.), Jared Golden (Maine), Mikie Sherrill (N.J.) and Abigail Spanberger (Va.) — have made firm statements saying they would not vote for Pelosi but did not sign the letter.