Sixteen dissident 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.
Their pledge to oppose Pelosi (Calif.) both in an internal caucus election Nov. 28 and a Jan. 3 floor vote, delivered in a letter sent to Democratic colleagues, comes as Pelosi has marshaled a legion of supporters on and off Capitol Hill to make her case.
But her opponents said Monday they are convinced it is time to select a new leader.
“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.”
Pelosi has expressed complete confidence that she will retake the speaker’s gavel in January — eight years after she lost it following massive Republican gains in the 2010 midterms and 16 years after she was first elevated to the top Democratic leadership post in the House.
“Come on in, the water’s fine,” she said Friday about a potential leadership challenge.
A senior Democratic aide, speaking on condition of anonymity to freely discuss the developments, highlighted the fact that 94 percent of the House Democratic caucus did not sign the letter.
“If your strategy relies upon Nancy Pelosi giving up, you will lose every single time,” the aide said.
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 four races still undecided.
All those races have Republican incumbents, but the Democratic challenger is ahead in only one. If the current leads hold in the uncalled races, Democrats would have won 233 seats — a 16-seat majority.
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis