Democrats Nominate Pelosi to Be House Speaker

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November 28, 2018

Despite an ongoing rebellion to install new leadership in the Democratic Party,  Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) won the Democratic Caucus' nomination to be the next speaker of the House.

The current minority leader received 203 yes votes, 32 no votes, and 3 blank votes. A full, public vote will be held on the House floor on Jan. 3.

Pelosi was unchallenged in her bid for speakership despite vocal House Democrats who sought an alternative nominee. Those rebelling members still insist Pelosi will not have the floor votes she needs come January, but Pelosi is confident she will.  She previously served as speaker of the House from 2007 to 2011.

Earlier this month, 16 House Democrats signed a letter pledging to vote against Pelosi for speaker, including four newly elected members.

"As we head toward the 116th Congress and reclaim our Democratic majority," the letter read, "we believe more strongly than ever that the time has come for new leadership ... 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.  We promised to change the status quo, and we intend to deliver on that promise."

This week, two signatories, Reps. Brian Higgins (D., N.Y.) and Stephen Lynch (D., Mass.), changed their tune and announced they would support Pelosi for "pragmatic reasons."

Pelosi has given some rebelling members permission to vote against her in the caucus vote, which was conducted by private ballot, but expects them to vote "present" during the full floor vote, according to a Democratic lawmaker familiar with the discussions.

"Pelosi has released some members to vote no in caucus and then vote present on the House floor," the lawmaker told the Hill before the Wednesday caucus vote.

One of the opposition leaders, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D., N.Y.), said she and others seeking new leadership met with Pelosi prior to the vote to "engage her in a reasonable conversation about leadership transition" but that "unfortunately, our concerns were dismissed outright."