Nancy Pelosi Speaker no more? Centrists talk leadership changes after House Democrats fall, fail to flip suburbs
The unprecedented move has come amid the party's disappointing showing at the polls regarding the chamber on Tuesday, November 3
There appears to be an in-party resistance building against the leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) as moderate House Democrats and other centrists are privately discussing a plan to throw their support behind a challenger to the Speaker. The unprecedented move has come amidst the party's disappointing showing at the polls regarding the chamber on Tuesday, November 3.
Two moderate House Democrats, while talking to The Hill, on Wednesday, November 4, said that they were reaching out to their colleagues about supporting one of Pelosi’s top lieutenants, Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), for Speaker. The Democratic lawmakers, who were not identified, said: "He’s the only one prepared and positioned” to be Speaker. "He bridges moderates and progressives better than anyone. And most importantly, he’s not Nancy Pelosi," they said referring to Jeffries.
The immediate aftermath of Tuesday's elections has shown a remarkable shift in internal Democratic thinking. Although Pelosi and the current Democratic leadership had vowed to build on their majority in the House of Representatives, early estimates, however, were far from their expectation. They reportedly failed to protect some of their most vulnerable House members in the race and did not pick off any Republican incumbent heading into Wednesday afternoon. Democratic lawmakers, instead, were left questioning their strategy decisions heading into the polls on Tuesday.
Party moderates representing suburban districts have often expressed their concerns about the leadership's strategy, suggesting that it hurts the moderates before elections. One of the anonymous moderate House Democrat told the outlet that several Democrats who represent suburban and exurban districts have been discussing the need for a change in leadership. "It’s time for Democrats to elevate a new generation of leadership in both the House and the Senate,” the lawmaker said. “Americans are clearly afraid of ‘socialism,’ want safe streets and neighborhoods, and to vote for people who they believe will help put more money in their pockets. While Democratic policies can adequately address those issues, our messaging mechanism clearly cannot."
The two Democrat lawmakers added that they were currently reaching out to all "suburban survivors" of Tuesday's elections and had already spoken about the issue to over a dozen party members from various factions of the caucus, including the Congressional Black Caucus, Progressive Caucus, New Democrat Coalition and bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Pelosi, while addressing the reporters before the election said that she would run for Speaker again if the Democrats maintained a majority in the House. When asked about a potential challenger to her position, Pelosi's chief spokesperson, Drew Hammil, told the outlet: "Today is not about the race for Speaker. Today is about the race for the White House and ensuring that our Members and candidates in uncalled races have the support they need. That is our focus.”
Pelosi's campaign operation, last week, exhibited the Democrat leader's fundraising prowess as Team Pelosi revealed that the Speaker had raised nearly $228 million in the 2020 cycle, including $67 million for Democrats just in the third quarter. Her campaign also revealed that ever since Pelosi joined the Democratic leadership, in 2002, she has raised nearly $1 billion for her party.