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Pelosi Regains Speaker's Gavel with Several Defections

With assistance from her grandchildren, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California casts her vote for herself to be speaker of the House on Jan. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — Nancy Pelosi reclaimed the gavel today as the California Democrat gained 220 votes to become the 63rd speaker of the House.

Pelosi, 78, was previously speaker from 2007-2011. She needed 216 votes to win.

Defections on both sides of the aisle came largely from conservatives, as a handful of GOPs picked a prominent Freedom Caucus member and a handful of fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats picked other-than-Pelosis or declined to vote at all.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) nominated Pelosi for the job, saying that her “track record of success is unparalleled in American history” but she’s “just getting started.”

“Nancy Pelosi is a woman of faith… a sophisticated strategist,” Jeffries said, adding, “Let me be clear: House Democrats are down with NDP.”

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) placed Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) name into nomination. “No one has fought harder for the rights and freedoms of American families,” she said. “…No one has been a greater champion of ensuring that our government is limited.”

There were 192 votes for McCarthy and 18 for other candidates.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) voted for Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), drawing some boos.

Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), and Massie voted for House Freedom Caucus co-founder Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

Jordan, though, voted for McCarthy.

Freshman Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), co-chairman for whip in the Blue Dog Coalition, voted for former Vice President Joe Biden.

Blue Dog Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) voted “present.” There are at least seven additions to the Blue Dogs this Congress. Blue Dog Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) voted for Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio).

Reps. Jason Crow, a freshman Dem from Colorado and Iraq/Afghanistan veteran, and Max Rose, a freshman New York Dem and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, voted for fellow vet Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.). Freshman Reps. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.), Jared Golden (D-Maine), Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), and Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) voted for Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.).

Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) voted for Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.). Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) voted for Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.).

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), a longtime Pelosi foe, voted for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

Freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.) unsuccessfully tried to vote “no” and was eventually marked as “present.”

Rep. Walt Jones (R-N.C.) was home ill thus did not cast a vote.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) voted for Pelosi, drawing some gasps in the chamber. Freshman Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), a former CIA analyst, voted “present.”

When the roll call got to the “c”s, one of the young children brought into the chamber by lawmakers cried “stop!” Lawmakers laughed.