House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was reelected to the position of House leadership on Sunday, but in the process was stabbed in the back by a number of disgruntled centrist Democrats who objected to her leadership.
Though most Democrats fell in line and pulled the handle for the incumbent speaker, Reps. Jared Golden (D-ME), Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA) voted for alternative candidates, and Reps. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) voted “present” in Sunday’s proceedings.
Pelosi faced a razor-thin majority coming into Sunday’s vote, with coronavirus, recent Democrat losses in the November election, and Joe Biden cabinet picks thinning the Democrat ranks to one of the smallest majorities ever seen in the House.
The “Squad” — made up of radical leftists such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) — fell in line despite grumblings against Pelosi in the weeks leading up to her reelection.
However, a number of Moderate Democrats have loudly protested Pelosi’s leadership, especially in regard to her refusal to approve COVID-19 relief compromises for months while Americans suffered.
Both moderate and far-left Democrats also appear to agree that the Democrat party is in desperate need of new leadership, with Slotkin telling reporters prior to the election that she’s committed to supporting “people who represent areas like where I’m from” for positions of Democrat leadership.
“I’ve been pretty vocal about the need for more Midwestern leaders, people who represent areas like where I’m from,” said Slotkin. “And also I think it’s important to be training a next generation of leaders, right? As just a healthy habit of building the bench. So I was upfront with [Pelosi] … And I’m going to vote to live up to that commitment to my district.”
Spanberger issued a similar statement, declaring after the vote that “Last Congress, I kept my promise to vote for new leadership upon my swearing-in – and in this Congress, I remain consistent in my commitment to ushering in new leadership. Accordingly, I did not vote for Speaker Pelosi.”
Despite speculation that Pelosi could finally be ousted as Speaker, she pulled out a win at the last minute, winning the race in a 216-209 vote — partially thanks to several COVID-positive Reps. traveling to D.C. to participate in the vote via “secure enclosure.”
Pelosi has led House Democrats since 2003 — both in majority and minority leader positions — and in spite of crippling losses at the polls in the November election — she appears to have retained her iron grip on House Democrats.
Ocasio-Cortez, especially, increased her criticism of Pelosi in the last several weeks, saying outright that Pelosi and Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) should be replaced.
However, fears that Republicans could take over House leadership appear to have conquered radical leftists in the House, leaving Pelosi once more in her highly prized position of leadership.