By Russell Berman - 11/04/10 11:53 PM EDT
It would also upend predictions that she would step aside after her caucus suffered deep losses on Election Day.
The Speaker has been calling lawmakers to gauge support, and she said Thursday she has “gotten a positive response” but hasn’t made a decision.
“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 said in an interview with the Huffington Post.
The interview led senior Democratic aides to believe she was seriously contemplating a bid. Other Democrats, including Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.), have remained silent about their plans while the party waits for a decision from Pelosi. Hoyer has vowed he would never again run against Pelosi.
Blue Dog Democrats are likely to be cool to a Pelosi run, and two members of the centrist coalition came out Thursday and said the Speaker should step aside. Rep. Heath Shuler (N.C.) has said he would challenge her if she ran.
Yet the Blue Dog ranks were depleted in the midterm elections, making Pelosi’s liberal base more dominant in the smaller Democratic caucus. Pelosi brings continuity and a record of strong leadership of the caucus, but she became a lightning rod on the campaign trail and is deeply unpopular with the public, polls show.
A spokesman for Pelosi would not give a timetable for her decision. Pressure for an announcement is likely to increase, and members don’t return to Washington for the lame-duck session until Nov. 15. The White House on Thursday announced the president had invited leaders of both parties to a meeting Nov. 18. That invitation included Pelosi.
One factor that might play into Pelosi’s decision is the sense among members that Democrats could win back the House in the next election or two. Pelosi, 70, has served four years as Speaker.
“There’s really nobody that thinks this is it,” one Democratic aide said about the party’s status in the minority. “I think this is a pause.”
If Pelosi believes she can win back the Speaker’s gavel, she might accept the relative obscurity of leading the minority to have another chance.