Sixteen House Democrats oppose Pelosi, offer no rival

Martha MacCallum discussed whether some in the GOP would consider supporting Pelosi for the speakership, since it appears she does not yet have the votes in her caucus.

Pelosi has mocked reports that her leadership would be challenged. The Pelosi opponents' theory is, once it's clear she doesn't have the votes, a new leader will emerge.

The signed letter against Pelosi comes amid calls from Reps. Two of them - Anthony Brindisi of NY and Ben McAdams of Utah - are in races in which The Associated Press has yet to call a victor.

That means Pelosi could lose as many as 15 Democratic votes when she stands for election as speaker January 3.

For now, just five freshmen have signed onto the letter opposing Pelosi.

It's by no means the Pelosi political obituary that Moulton had planned. She has enlisted powerful allies to weigh in on her behalf and worked to build an air of inevitability around her bid, including through a letter of support circulated by a veteran lawmaker, Representative Nita M. Lowey of NY, and signed by 61 Democratic women as of Friday afternoon.

"We'll see how it plays out a lot of people haven't made their decisions yet", said Moulton. Pelosi is a lock to win a majority of Democratic votes in the caucus election later this month, but she must hold virtually all of her caucus together if she hopes to survive a floor vote that includes members of both parties.

In this last election, they said, "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".

12 House Democrats and 4 incoming freshmen have signed onto a letter promising to vote against Pelosi in Democrats' internal caucus leadership vote, as well as on the House floor in January.

One potential rival, Rep. Martha Fudge of OH, did not sign onto the letter. None of the signatories have an interest in challenging her themselves, although some have floated the idea of Rep. Marcia Fudge. Democrats will have at least 233 seats in the new Congress, meaning Pelosi can afford to lose no more than 16 Democratic votes, assuming no Republicans back her.

"The whole concept of "you can't beat somebody with nobody" is a Nancy Pelosi talking point", Rice told reporters last week. The letter also didn't say whether a lower-level change in leadership would satisfy the Democrats' demand.

On the one hand, Pelosi's supporters say now more than ever the party needs the California Democrat's leadership as a skilled strategist and tireless fundraiser to confront President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans in Congress. That margin could shift, though, if lawmakers are absent or simply vote "present", which reduces the threshold.

"They're going to get crucified, crucified with that first vote", Reed said in an interview. "She's an effective person in that job".

  • Rogelio Becker