House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has been adamant that she would receive another term in the leadership position after her party narrowly secured a majority in the lower chamber last year.
According to The Hill, she will hold on to the gavel during the upcoming legislative session, albeit with a razor-thin margin due to opposition by a handful of House Democrats. The extremely close victory could spell trouble for Pelosi and her party as she attempts to unite her caucus over the next two years.
“I’ve been pretty vocal”
She lost the support of five moderate Democrats, leaving her with 216 votes — just seven more than House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) received.
Among those who held back their support was U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), who opted to vote “president” instead of in favor of Pelosi. She cast a similar vote in 2019.
“I’ve been pretty vocal about the need for more Midwestern leaders, people who represent areas like where I’m from,” she said.
Slotkin went on to express the perceived importance of “training a next generation of leaders” as part of a “healthy habit of building the bench.”
The congresswoman claimed to have spoken with Pelosi about her reasoning, asserting that she was “upfront” with the party leader in discussing her intentions.
“I kept my promise”
“We had a one-on-one conversation right after the election, just as we did back in 2018,” Slotkin said. “And I’m going to vote to live up to that commitment to my district.”
Another moderate Democrat who cast a “present” vote was Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia. She also explained her rationale in a statement, saying: “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.”
Spanberger previously made headlines for her comments during a post-election conference call in which she criticized her party’s leaders for moving too far to the left.
One vote in favor of Pelosi was controversial in its own way. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) tested positive for COVID-19 last week, prompting Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AK) to accuse Pelosi of hypocrisy in allowing Moore to vote in person.
“Looks like [Pelosi’s] proxy voting and remote hearing measures are only essential when her leadership position isn’t on the line,” Westerman tweeted.