- A group of 16 Democrats on Monday released a letter opposing Nancy Pelosi as the next speaker of the House.
- The signatories are a mix of current House Democrats and incoming freshmen elected earlier in November.
- Pelosi is so far running unopposed but will need at least 218 votes on the House floor to become speaker.
WASHINGTON – A group of Democratic representatives and several incoming freshmen on Monday released a letter opposing Nancy Pelosi’s becoming the next speaker of the House in January when the new Congress forms.
The 16 Democrats, five of whom were elected for the first time this November, detailed their reasoning for refusing to back Pelosi in a call for new leadership.
“As we head toward the 116th Congress and reclaim our Democratic majority, we believe more strongly than ever that the time has come for new leadership in our Caucus,” the letter reads. “We are thankful to Leader Pelosi for her years of service to our Country and to our Caucus. She is a historic figure whose leadership has been instrumental to some of our party’s most important legislative achievements.”
They claimed that the party regained the majority in the House thanks in part to many candidates’ repeated public opposition to the current leadership structure.
“However, we also recognise that in this recent election, Democrats ran and won on a message of change. Our majority came on the backs of candidates who said that they would support new leadership because voters in hard-won districts, and across the country, want to see real change in Washington,” they added. “We promised to change the status quo, and we intend to deliver on that promise.”
While the group is small in the scope of the Democrats’ newfound House majority, several other recently elected Democrats have said they do not plan to vote for Pelosi as speaker but did not sign the letter, which could place her in a fair amount of trouble. Pelosi will need at least 218 votes on the House floor to become speaker.
There are also contingents of Democrats who have expressed frustration with the leadership team’s lack of “geographic diversity” among other issues.
And while President Donald Trump has said he wants Pelosi to be the next speaker, even encouraging Republicans to get on board with her bid, the longtime California Democrat has said she intends to “win the speakership with Democratic votes.”
Gender has also been a large component of the speaker fight.
“You cannot have the four leaders of Congress, the president of the United States, these five people, and not have the voice of women,” Pelosi said in an interview on CBS on November 11. “Especially since women were the majority of the voters, the workers in campaigns, and now part of this glorious victory.”
Pelosi noted in her Thursday press conference that most of the Democrats who signed the letter are men.
The group of Democrats is also pushing for Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio to challenge Pelosi. But Fudge has not decided whether to run, taking the weeklong Thanksgiving break to mull it over.