Democrats who have pushed for Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s ouster as House minority leader are standing down – at least until after November’s midterm elections.
Republican Speaker Paul Ryan’s surprise announcement last week that he would retire at the end of his term boosted Democrats’ hopes that they could wrest back control of the House this fall. The possibility of majority control also gave new life to a looming question: Will Pelosi, or someone else, lead the party?
Democrats say they are focused on one task – winning – and have clamped down on talk of replacing Pelosi, D-Calif., who has guided the party for 17 years, served as speaker from 2007 to 2011 and is intent on reclaiming the gavel.
“We have one North Star: 218 seats. Period,” said Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash., the chairman of recruitment at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Several Democrats have called for a new, younger leadership team, helmed by someone other than the 78-year-old Pelosi. The prodigious fundraiser, who says she has raisedmore than $49 million for Democrats in this election cycle alone, turned back challenges in 2011 and 2015.
Even Pelosi’s fiercest critics in the Democratic ranks grudgingly say she will be the presumptive candidate for speaker for the next seven months.
“We can look at the other side and see the chaos that happens when a leader exits,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., who opposed Pelosi’s last leadership bid. “This whole election is about Trump. We can worry about the leadership situation later.”
Numerous Democratic candidates seeking seats in the House have said they would prefer new leadership, as Pelosi’s resilience remains a source of frustration to those who want her out.
Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., pointed out that Ryan, R-Wis., arrived in Congress the same year, 1999, as Rep. Joseph Crowley, N.Y., the Democratic conference chairman. She threw up her arms and pretended to be climbing a ladder, to demonstrate how long Crowley has been trying to rise in the party’s leadership.
“Republicans know how to do turnover. We don’t,” said Rice. “Paul Ryan took the job on his own terms, and he’s leaving on his own terms.”
Not since 1954 and Sam Rayburn has a former speaker of the House stayed on as minority leader, then returned to power. No minority leader has presided over four losing elections and then become speaker, though Democrats did shrink the Republican majority in 2012 and 2016.
Crowley recently said Pelosi was “soon to be speaker again.” Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., who spent the two-week Easter recess on the road with incumbents and candidates, is seen as offering himself as a “bridge” between Pelosi and a younger leader. (Hoyer will turn 79 this summer.)
Pelosi allies point out that Hoyer has raised $5.5 million for Democrats in the 2018 cycle so far, while Pelosi raised $4.5 million just last week. In The Washington Post’s latest polling, Pelosi’s net negative rating had fallen since 2010, with 32 percent viewing her favorably and 44 percent unfavorably. Pelosi has not become more popular, but fewer voters had …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – Politics