Jan. 4, 2019 — California US Rep. Nancy Pelosi was returned to the Speaker’s office yesterday in a carefully orchestrated vote that allowed her to claim the gavel by a two-vote margin, while simultaneously allowing several incoming Democratic members to keep their campaign pledge to not support the returning national political leader. Pelosi received 220 votes from her conference, two more than the minimum majority figure of 218.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) returns as House Speaker
Fifteen Democrats voted for someone other than Pelosi in the Speaker’s roll call or answered “present.” Freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ) simply voted “no” when his name was called but was recorded as voting present.
Not all of the Pelosi dissenters were freshman. Of the 15, veteran Reps. Jim Cooper (D-TN), Ron Kind (D-WI), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) voted differently.
Cooper voted present. Rep. Kind supported Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), taking a page from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (D-AZ) political book when she was in the House. During her three terms, Sinema voted for Rep. Lewis for Speaker to honor his civil rights career. Rep. Rice, an outspoken critic of Speaker Pelosi, voted for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. Schrader voted for Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Cleveland). Just after the November election, Rep. Fudge briefly considered the idea of running for Speaker.
Dec. 1, 2016 — Yesterday, House Democrats caucused and chose their leadership team for the 115th Congress. The major contested battle featured a race for Minority Leader, the first time that Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) had been seriously challenged since she won the Democrats’ top intra-party position in the post-2002 election period.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) had been running hard for the internal post, but appeared to be making little headway. Of the 92 Democratic members who had announced their support for a Minority Leader candidate, only 12 had voiced support for Ryan. The other 80 were for incumbent Pelosi, meaning she would need only 20 more to secure the victory…assuming all of the announced hold true to their public position in a secret ballot contest.
With 63 women in the Democratic Conference, counting the Delegates from America’s territories who can vote in such elections, Pelosi has a strong base from which she began to develop her 100-vote support group. Of her 80 announced supporters, 25 are female.