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Democrats nominate Pelosi as speaker despite opposition from dozens

By
Nicholas Sakelaris and Danielle Haynes
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks with reporters after a Democratic caucus meeting at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. Photo by Alex Edelman/UPI
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks with reporters after a Democratic caucus meeting at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. Photo by Alex Edelman/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Democrats overwhelmingly nominated Rep. Nancy Pelosi to be House speaker Wednesday despite staunch opposition earlier this month.

The representative from California ran unopposed for the speakership but still faces the full House in January, when she'll need a majority of votes to reclaim the speakership. There she could afford to lose up to 17 Democratic votes, assuming the party ends up with 235 members in the House after all congressional elections are finalized.

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Pelosi had been campaigning behind the scenes for the post, but a small faction in the party pushed for someone else in the job.

In the closed-door vote Wednesday, 32 Democrats voted against her and three declined to vote.

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So far, 17 House Democrats have signed their names to a letter opposing Pelosi's nomination, though at least two have since removed their opposition. It's not yet clear who they back for the job.

"She's talking to members, she's hearing out their interests, their concerns over things, their proposals for new rules and new select committees, she's bringing new people into the leadership," said California Rep. Adam Schiff. "I think she's doing exactly what she needs to do, and I think it's part of the reason why she's going to be successful."

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Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio has been critical and initially said she would challenge Pelosi for speaker. She rescinded her opposition around the same time Pelosi announced she would appoint her to an elections subcommittee.

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Rep. Brian Higgins of New York signed a letter opposing Pelosi but reversed course when she said she'd support a $1 trillion plan to upgrade infrastructure and a measure to allow people 50 and older to buy into Medicare.

Some Democrats said they just want to challenge the status quo.

One House Democrat who hasn't wavered in his opposition to Pelosi is fellow California Rep. Gil Cisneros, who's pledged not to support her.

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Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., predicted the party will rally behind her in the full vote in January.

"More people are coming off the `Never Pelosi' letter than are going on it," he said. "I think the momentum is in her direction."

In other key leadership votes Wednesday, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., was chosen as Democratic Caucus chair, narrowly defeating Rep. Barbara Lee of California. Jeffries topped Lee for the House's No. 4 post by a vote of 123-113. Another New York Democrat, Joe Crowley, used to have the chair but he lost a primary to Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

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Both are members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Women of the next U.S. Congress

Female Members of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., poses with the female Democratic members of Congress in front of the U.S. Capitol. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

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