WASHINGTON – Despite the delay of leadership elections in the Democratic caucus, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday evening she won another term as House Democratic leader.
Pelosi, who has led House Dems since 2002, was heading into the DAR Constitution Hall for a concert honoring musician Smokey Robinson for winning this year’s Gershwin Award for Popular Song from the Library of Congress.
As Pelosi’s staff and security guided her inside the concert hall, PJM greeted Pelosi and began to ask her a question about the Democratic leadership election.
“I had a quick question for you. You’re in the race for the leadership,” PJM said before Pelosi started to respond.
“Yes. I won it already,” she replied as she entered the concert hall.
“You won it already?” PJM said back.
“Yeah,” Pelosi said.
CBS News reported that Pelosi disagreed with the idea to postpone the leadership election until Nov. 30 during a Democratic caucus meeting on Tuesday. House Republicans elected their leaders for the 115th Congress – basically the same as those in the 114th Congress – on Tuesday.
“According to a Democratic aide inside the room, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pushed back on the idea of delaying the vote. She wanted the House Democratic elections to be held this week and said so several times,” reported CBS.
Some House Dems had circulated a letter calling for the delay because “only by taking the time to find the hard truths can we formulate a comprehensive path forward, which could include the composition of our caucus leadership and the roles and responsibilities of each leadership position.”
Earlier today, Pelosi’s office announced that she had sent a letter to each House Democrat and member-elect asking for their support in the election for the next Democratic leader.
“It is with both humility and confidence that I write to request your support for House Democratic Leader. As of this writing, I am pleased to report the support of more than two-thirds of the Caucus,” she wrote in the letter. “In the days since the election, I have been deeply grateful for the insights Members have shared with me. We have all been deeply moved by the stories and concerns of our constituents. They elected us to fight for their jobs, families and futures. We have and we will!”
In the letter, she also called for House Democrats to “proceed with a clear vision, firm values and innovative strategy.”
“To be a strong voice for hard-working families and to uphold the values we cherish as Americans, House Democrats must be unified, strategic and unwavering. These qualities took us to victory in 2006 and I believe they will do so again. We must start now!” she wrote. “Thank you for your leadership, your friendship and your consideration. I would be honored by your support.”
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who has expressed interest in challenging Pelosi, told MSNBC this morning that Dems wanted “to get this process extended a couple weeks to have these kinds of conversations” about what to do after an unsuccessful election.
“And some people have approached me but there are a lot of people having conversations right now about what direction we go in,” Ryan said. “We think with the presidency being held by a Republican, House and Senate Republican, we may have a unique opportunity in 2018 but we’re going to have to go into red states, red congressional districts, and try to persuade some of these Trump voters who are Democrats, many of them, to come back home… Those blue-collar voters got to vote blue if we’re ever going to take the House back.”
Ryan added that there’s “a real appetite in the country for a new Democratic Party.”
“Look, the Obamas are gone, the Clintons are gone, the Bidens are gone, Harry Reid’s gone, we don’t have anyone at the DNC,” the congressman said. “The House leadership race is really going to be an important signal to many Democrats, independents, and moderate Republicans of what the new Democratic Party looks like.”