Nancy Pelosi had agreed to step down as Speaker of the House in 2022, a promise she’s since backed off from. But some top Democrats say she doesn’t have the votes to stay on, even if Democrats manage to keep the House.
Your SF congressional representative and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi promised in 2018 that she would not remain on as House Speaker beyond 2022. And from the moment Joe Biden was inaugurated as President up until, say, maybe four weeks ago, it all seemed like a moot point. There was no way that the Democrats were going to keep the House in the 2022 midterms! But one leaked Roe v. Wade decision and a shit-ton of Republican electoral fuck-ups later, Democrats are increasingly optimistic they could actually manage to hold the House.
But would they keep Pelosi on as Speaker? Someone put the question to her directly at a Wednesday press conference this week.
“We're going to win. And that's really the issue," Pelosi said. "Are we speaking a different language? First we win, then we decide."
But some Democrats, even on the record, are saying Pelosi’s time as Speaker is past its expiration date. CNN spoke to a few of them in an analysis of whether Nancy Pelosi has the votes to be re-elected as Speaker of the House.
"I certainly have long thought it's time for new leadership," Rep. Mike Sherrill (D-NJ) told CNN. "She's done an incredible job, but we really do need to grow new leaders. When you have the top three people in our caucus in their 80s. ... There does need to be a new generation coming up and starting to lead. And that's something that I think the Democratic Party shouldn't be afraid of."
Progressive rock star and wunderkind Alexandia Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) demurred diplomatically on the question.
"I think if we're in a minority then I think that the desire for change will be broader, potentially within the party. But I think that desire exists," AOC told CNN. "We saw and heard that desire in the last two terms that Democrats were the majority, so it really is just a question of, not if people want that, but how many?"
Pelosi’s top two lieutenants, Reps. Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn, both badly want the job. But both are about as appealing as a warm styrofoam cup of someone else’s tobacco-spit. Both are older than 80, and younger progressives prefer Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) for the position.
Even among progressive circles, there is a certain animus toward Nancy Pelosi. Yes, she is wealthy, and people like to dig at her because she keeps ice cream in a very nice freezer. But Nancy Pelosi has accomplished more than every progressive you can name combined. She’s probably the best congressional fundraiser alive, and she’s not only the only woman who has ever won the Speaker position, she’s won the job twice.(Moreover, the Speaker she unseated in 2006 was a goddamned child molester. We don’t talk about that enough!)
But yes, Nancy Pelosi may indeed not have the votes to remain on as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Hey, I like Nancy Pelosi, she’s accomplished a ton. But if the Democrats keep the House in November and decide to elect someone else as Speaker, frankly, even Pelosi’s biggest supporters would say that is a good problem to have.
Related: Pelosi Announces She Will Seek Reelection For a 19th (!) Term In Congress [SFist]
Image: WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14: U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi departs following her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol on September 14, 2022 in Washington, DC. Pelosi answered a range of questions during the news conference including the upcoming midterm elections. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)