House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, having lost a shocking 12 seats for the Democratic Party in the 2020 election last month, is facing a very narrow path to retain her position in Congress.
Pelosi, who is 80, will be running for speaker again during the first week of January when the House convenes for the 117th Congress. Every single member of the House votes for the speaker, which means that in order to retain the position she must have 218 votes.
There’s been no other Democratic challenger for the position when she was nominated for it by her caucus virtually last month.
Fifteen House Democrats did not vote for Pelosi when she ran for speaker in January 2019, but she secured the top leadership job over California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy, with 220 votes to 150 votes.
Ultimately, Democrats could end up with 222 members in their caucus to the Republicans’ 213 if the Republican candidates in the presently contested Iowa and New York House races are seated. In that scenario, Pelosi could only afford to lose four Democratic members if Republicans are united in opposing her.
Only Michigan Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin made it clear she will not support Pelosi for the speakership post after a one-on-one meeting with her. Last cycle, she voted “present.”
Four of those 15 Democratic seats occupied by members who didn’t support Pelosi’s run for speaker has now been replaced by a Republican. This is due to both losses and defection.
Chances are Pelosi will still end up being the speaker, but the support she’s used to enjoying is shrinking over time, likely due to her moving more to the left and the constant assault on the president. No doubt playing politics with people’s suffering by purposefully avoiding negotiations on the coronavirus relief package certainly didn’t help.