Report: 50 Dem House candidates oppose Pelosi for speaker

Report: 50 Dem House candidates oppose Pelosi for speaker
© Greg Nash

A report from NBC News counts at least 50 Democratic candidates on the ballot in the general election who say they won't back House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Omar controversies shadow Dems at AIPAC Five things to watch as AIPAC conference kicks off MORE (D-Calif.) for Speaker if the party retakes the chamber in the midterms.

Of the 51, nine are incumbents, including Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John RyanHouse Dem renews call for censuring Steve King The Hill's Morning Report - Dems contemplate big election and court reforms Hillicon Valley: Google takes heat at privacy hearing | 2020 Dems to debate 'monopoly power' | GOP rips net neutrality bill | Warren throws down gauntlet over big tech | New scrutiny for Trump over AT&T merger MORE (Ohio), who challenged Pelosi to lead Democrats in the House in 2016 and lost. In addition to those 51 candidates, another 34 have declined to offer support for Pelosi, saying that it is too early to decide.

Pelosi has repeatedly insisted that she believes Democrats will retake the House and that she intends to reclaim the Speaker's gavel.

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But the longtime Democratic House leader is a polarizing figure and a number of Democrats have distanced themselves from her this election cycle.

“Leader Pelosi has always enjoyed the overwhelming support of House Democrats and that will continue into the majority she's so focused on winning,” Pelosi's deputy chief of staff told NBC News.

The most recent Democratic candidate to oppose Pelosi for speaker is Michigan's Rashida Tlaib, who won her primary this week and is poised to be the first Muslim woman in Congress.

She told CNN on Thursday that Pelosi “doesn't speak about the issues that are important to the families of the [Michigan] 13th Congressional District, and they are a priority for me.”

In a tight Democratic primary in Massachusetts, both of the leading candidates, Rep. Michael CapuanoMichael (Mike) Everett CapuanoDems seek to stifle primary challenges to incumbents Ex-Dem lawmaker Capuano joins law and lobbying firm Freshman Dem lawmaker says Trump brought dishonor to his office with shutdown MORE (D-Mass.) and his progressive challenger, Ayanna Pressley, said in a debate this week that they were not ready to support Pelosi.

They join a number of Democrats in high profile races who backed away from Pelosi.

Rep. Conor Lamb (D) won a Pennsylvania House special election in March. During the race, Republicans tried to paint Lamb as a rubber stamp for Pelosi and liberal Democrats' agenda. Lamb, though, repeatedly said he would not back Pelosi for speaker.

Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House, has been the Democratic leader in both the minority and majority since 2003. She is the longest-serving leader since the 1950s and would be the first since 1955 to lose and regain the Speakership should Democrats win a majority and elect her Speaker. She has been a powerful fundraiser for the party.

Pelosi still maintains support from a large number of Democratic lawmakers. Another silver lining for Pelosi’s plans to retake the gavel is the lack of an obvious heir apparent. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), a member of leadership who was seen as a potential future Speaker, was upset in his primary by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Ocasio-Cortez has also said she will not commit to backing Pelosi until after the election.