Nancy Pelosi will relinquish her role as Speaker of the House of Representatives in the next Congress after her party was shellacked in Tuesday’s midterm elections. But she wants to remain Democratic leader.
Pelosi says she will wage a battle to continue leading the party, which became even more pro-abortion following the defeat of some of its pro-life members who voted for the abortion-funding ObamaCare bill.
“I am running for Dem leader,” Pelosi said on her Twitter account today.
Some political observers predicted she would step aside and let someone else run the party in the House after her election failure, but she said before her decision today that she’s “gotten a positive response” in calls to fellow Democrats.
“Everything is very positive in what they say, complimentary about how I’ve kept the caucus together, complimentary about the fact that we won in the first place [in 2006] and increased our numbers [in 2008] and that we have to come right back in that regard,” she told the Huffington Post.
“I’ve gotten a positive response, but I haven’t gone to a place where I’ve made a decision about that,” she said. “Only today have I even looked at messages or anything that relate to me from … members, friends, progressives … And of course the ones you will hear from are the ones who want you to run.”
She told ABC News on Wednesday she would contact Democrats in the House before deciding what to do, and the remark launched a round of speculation about her future prospects.
“In our caucus, we always do things by consensus. And when we have that consensus, we’ll have some announcement to make,” Pelosi said. “I’ll have a conversation with my caucus, I’ll have a conversation with my family and – pray over it, and decide how – to go forward.”Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the pro-abortion number two Democrat who hails from Maryland, has been silent about potential leadership battles or changes.
Pelosi and Hoyer had a private meeting late yesterday lasting more than 90 minutes and Hoyer has assured Pelosi in the past both in private and public that he will not run against her, but neither will discuss the content of the meeting.
After their defeats in the elections, members of the moderate Blue Dog Democrats are likely to be looking to someone else to lead the caucus. Rep. Heath Shuler, a North Carolina Democrat who voted against the abortion-funding ObamaCare bill, is considering a bid to challenge Pelosi if she runs.
Another member of the Blue Dog coalition, Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah, told Politico Pelosi should not run again.
“We just got whupped,” he said.
But Shuler would have a tough time finding support after so many members of the moderate caucus lost bids for re-election after backing ObamaCare.
Most of the Democrats who were re-elected on Tuesday are liberals and progressives who are Pelosi’s base of support.
One key factor in Pelosi’s decision may have been whether Democrats think they can win back the House during the 2012 elections, when Obama’s appearance on the ballot is expected to drive up turnout of Democratic voters. It was thought if Pelosi believes she can become Speaker again, she may vie for the Minority Leader position in the upcoming Congress.