Ohio Rep. Steve Driehaus (D) became the latest House Democrat to refuse to commit to supporting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for another term.

In a chat with readers on Cincinnati.com, the endangered freshman said, "I expect Speaker Pelosi will have a challenge within the caucus. And I will hold my vote until I know who’s running for Speaker."


Driehaus is the 17th incumbent House Democrat who will not commit to supporting the Speaker. Six others have said flat out they will not back Pelosi for another term as the top House member. 

Like other Democrats running in tough races in swing and Republican districts, Driehaus, who voted for the healthcare reform law, is attempting to distance himself from the unpopular Speaker as part of his closing argument to voters before Election Day on Tuesday.

Former Rep. Steve Chabot (R), Driehaus's opponent, has attempted to tie the freshman to Pelosi, arguing in ads that Driehaus has voted with her 94 percent of the time.

Other members have gone to extreme lengths to distance themselves from Democratic leaders. Mississippi Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor said he voted for Republican nominee John McCain — not Barack Obama — in 2008 and conservative Blue Dog Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) said he would consider running for Speaker himself. 

Driehaus framed his decision as letting him consider all the options on the table.

“So that I can make an educated decision … I can’t make a choice with regard to the Speaker vote without being able to assess the alternatives. Last session, I was faced with only one choice — Pelosi or Boehner. That was an easy decision.”

A poll from September showed Chabot leading Driehaus, and the nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race as leaning Republican. Obama won Ohio's 1st district in 2008, but a majority of voters there supported President George W. Bush in 2004 and 2000.