Rep. Nancy Pelosi is running to keep her job as speaker of the House unopposed and is expected to win her caucus’ nomination, but some House Democrats are already looking ahead to a post-Pelosi future.
The 80-year-old California Democrat will face a full floor vote in January and is expected to continue to serve as speaker despite internal grumblings after the election, Politico reported. Many Democrats are pointing fingers after the party lost at least eight seats in the Nov. 3 vote.
“There’s near universal appreciation for ‘thank God Nancy was there during this turbulent four years.’ She was the Rock of Gibraltar,” Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia told the outlet.
“I think that’s really why the idea of challenging her has not resurfaced and is not likely to,” he said.
Pelosi needs only a simple majority of her caucus to vote for her Wednesday before she starts a six-week persuasion campaign to lock down the 218 Democratic votes she will need in January.
In 2019, 15 Democrats voted against her, many of whom lost re-election, but she can still only lose a few Democrats during the floor vote.
Her detractors plan to press Pelosi on building a transition plan for the next generation and honoring her 2018 agreement that she would serve only two more terms as speaker.
“Clearly we need to build a transition so that next Congress we have new leadership,” Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader said, according to Politico. He voted against Pelosi in 2018.
“We need younger folks to have an opportunity to get trained,” Schrader said. “That’s something I will be pushing … to make sure whoever is elected speaker, majority leader, whip, whatever, that there’s a clear way to train people.”
Although Pelosi will most likely continue to serve as speaker, the lower-level races are expected to point the Democratic caucus toward its post-Pelosi future.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, 81, of Maryland and Majority Whip James Clyburn, 80, of South Carolina follow Pelosi in rank and are also expected to win another two-year-term, The Washinton Post reported.
While the timeline is unknown, it is accepted that Hoyer and Clyburn will step down whenever Pelosi leaves.
Hoyer told The Post in a recent interview that he could be content leaving at the end of 2022 after two decades as the No. 2 Democrat.
The two biggest races for leadership posts and committee chairs are the slots of assistant speaker and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair.
Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark is the front-runner in the assistant speaker race but must beat Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline for the position, Politico reported.
“The challenges and opportunities facing our caucus and our country are unprecedented and will require that we leverage the talent and expertise of our members, unite behind our shared values, and deliver results for all communities,” Clark wrote in a letter to her Democratic colleagues.
California Rep. Tony Cárdenas and New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney are vying for DCCC chairman in the midst of an ongoing discussion about where the party went wrong during the 2020 election, according to Politico.
The results of these races could prompt the caucus to move in a new direction that represents the changing dynamics of the Democratic Party.
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