Pelosi: I’d win if Speaker vote were held today

Pelosi: I’d win if Speaker vote were held today
© Stefani Reynolds
House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game Dem divisions deepen over approach to climate change 2020 Dems avoid this year's AIPAC conference MORE (D-Calif.) asserted Thursday that she’ll be Speaker next year, the latest show of confidence from the longtime Democratic leader who’s facing the toughest challenge to her storied reign from a small but growing group of rebellious critics.
 
Pelosi said she has enough backing — today — to win the Speaker’s gavel she lost eight years ago when Republicans took control of the chamber. And she dismissed the notion that she might need GOP support to win a majority on the House floor during January’s Speaker vote.
 
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“I intend to win the Speakership with Democratic votes,” Pelosi said during a jam-packed press conference in the Capitol, her first since the Democrats won back the House in last week’s midterm elections. “I have overwhelming support within my caucus to be Speaker of the House, and certainly we have many, many people in our caucus who could serve in this capacity.” 
 
“I happen to think that, at this point, I’m the best person for that,” she added.
 
Pelosi’s critics have been scrambling to prevent her ascension to the Speaker’s chair, citing the need for fresh faces and new ideas at the top of the party, where Pelosi has reigned since 2003. They’re arguing that the Democrats won the majority only on the victories of dozens of incoming freshmen, many of whom won in conservative-leaning districts with vows to fight for a leadership overhaul.
 
The insurgents claim to have 17 Democrats — incumbents and newcomers alike — who have endorsed a circulating letter designed to show their strength ahead of the Nov. 28 vote in the Democratic caucus to decide their Speaker nominee. Pelosi’s critics also say they have others who have committed to opposing her on the floor, but have not signed the letter.
 
It’s unclear whether those numbers would be enough to topple Pelosi, since a number of races around the country have yet to be called.
 
Pelosi suggested Thursday that the insurgents are claiming allies they might not have.
 
“Have you seen the letter?” she asked a reporter, who had referenced the 17 signatures.
 
Rep. Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedPush for ‘Medicare for all’ worries centrist Dems Lower refunds amplify calls to restore key tax deduction Drug pricing fight centers on insulin MORE, a New York Republican who co-chairs the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, is floating the idea of breaking ranks to support Pelosi on the floor, if she agrees to overhaul House rules.
 
Pelosi said Thursday that she won’t accept help from the GOP.
 
“Oh, please,” she said. “No, never.”
 
The insurgents have not found a candidate to challenge Pelosi, who is widely expected to win the closed-door caucus vote for Speaker nominee, which requires a simple majority.
 
On Wednesday, Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeCongressional Black Caucus faces tough decision on Harris, Booker Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to step down as CBC Foundation chair amid lawsuit Reporter says to expect Capitol Hill to take action on North Carolina's 9th District MORE (D-Ohio), former head of the Congressional Black Caucus, floated the idea of seeking the Speakership, but did not say she would challenge Pelosi head-on.
 
Asked Thursday about Fudge’s interest in the spot, Pelosi welcomed the competition.
 
“Come on in,” Pelosi said. “The water’s warm.”