The cracks are starting to form in the foundation of Nancy Pelosi’s desire to maintain her role as Speaker of the House. Heading into Election Day, the Democratic leader had said she expected to pick up a number of seats. As ballots are still being counted, the reality is the Democrats failed to flip a single Republican-held seat, and in the process lost at least five of their own.
Prior to Election day, Pelosi had reportedly told colleagues she expected the Democratic side of the house to pick up five to 20 seats. Those lofty expectations may ultimately prove to be her undoing.
The Democrats will still maintain control of the House but their majority is now much smaller than they were excepting and that could set up an interesting dynamic as Pelosi looks to remain speaker.
Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the upcoming vote for the Speaker role in the house could be interesting, “I know the vote on the floor is difficult for the Speaker. I know there was a number of people who did not vote for her last time,” McCarthy said, alluding to Democratic defectors two years ago, who tried unsuccessfully to oust Pelosi as Speaker.
The dynamics in the house for Democrats may very well come down to the “squad.” Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan all easily won re-election bids in their respective districts. They also managed to add to their numbers with Cori Bush, who won in Missouri’s 1st District, and they added their first two male members with Jamaal Bowman, who won his race in New York’s 16th District and Mondaire Jones in New York’s District 17.
Several moderate House Dems previously vowed not to back Pelosi as House Speaker and now there are reports those Dems are pushing for House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries to become the next Speaker. Many believe Jefferies would receive the support of the “squad,” which could set up an interesting showdown between Pelosi and Jefferies, who is currently a top Pelosi lieutenant.