Dem women rally behind Pelosi

Dem women rally behind Pelosi
© Greg Nash

Dozens of Democratic women — incumbents and newcomers alike — are rallying behind Rep. Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiFreedom Caucus calls on leadership to include wall funding, end to 'catch and release' in funding bill Black Caucus huddles as talk of term limits heats up Insurgent Dems amplify push for term limits on party leaders MORE (D-Calif.) as she fights with a group of detractors in her own party to become Speaker in the next Congress.

A letter circulating among female Democratic lawmakers pledges to support Pelosi’s Speaker bid in both the private ballot within the caucus later this month, and on the House floor early next year. Organized by Rep. Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyWhite House Hanukkah parties happening Thursday after delay for Bush funeral Border wall bickering raises odds of shutdown Schumer floats stopgap spending bill amid border wall fight MORE (D-N.Y.), one of Pelosi’s closest allies, it has won more than 60 signatures, including a number of lawmakers who were previously thought to be on the fence.

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“Now that we are faced with unprecedented threats to our democracy, women, minorities, and even the most basic American values by President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Memo: Ayers decision casts harsh light on Trump NASA offers to show Stephen Curry evidence from moon landings Freedom Caucus calls on leadership to include wall funding, end to 'catch and release' in funding bill MORE, we need your effective leadership more than ever to advance our efforts to help hard-working families get ahead,” reads the letter, addressed to Pelosi.

The supporters include a number of incoming freshmen, some of whom have dodged questions this week about their position on Pelosi’s place atop the party, where she has reigned since 2003.

Reps.-elect Kim Schrier (Wash.), Ann KirkpatrickAnn KirkpatrickHispanic Caucus sets red lines on DHS spending bill Dem women rally behind Pelosi Arizona New Members 2019 MORE (Ariz.), Angie Craig (Minn.) and Jennifer Wexton (Va.) all endorsed the letter. Notably absent from the list was Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), the liberal superstar who toppled Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) in a June primary and who is vowing to take on the party establishment in Washington.

The letter's signatories also include 17 members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), including Reps. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassBlack Caucus huddles as talk of term limits heats up Police investigate swastika graffiti in Los Angeles Pelosi flexes political power in Speaker’s race MORE (Calif.), Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersBlack Caucus huddles as talk of term limits heats up On The Money: Markets roiled by trade tensions | Rally on hopes of Fed pause on rate hikes | Senate sends two-week spending measure to Trump | Consumer bureau pick confirmed | Trade deficit at highest level since 2008 Black Caucus chairman pushes back against committee term limits MORE (Calif.), Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeComey: House Republicans 'came up empty today but will try again' GOP, Comey have tense day — with promise of a second date House Dems worry about lack of women of color in leadership MORE (Texas), Gwen MooreGwen Sophia MooreTime is money: Let’s open Social Security field offices, not close them Dem women rally behind Pelosi House lawmakers introduce bill to end US support in Yemen civil war MORE (Wis.) and Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeOcasio-Cortez: John Kelly is a coward for refusing to apologize to Dem lawmaker Black Caucus chairman pushes back against committee term limits Progressive rep says she’s ‘very disappointed' by Barbara Lee’s loss in bid for Dem caucus chair MORE (Calif.).

The profusion of CBC signatures is significant because Pelosi is facing a potential challenge from Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeInsurgent Dems amplify push for term limits on party leaders Nancy Pelosi's incredible comeback Education, success do not merit moral impunity MORE (D-Ohio), who previously headed the CBC and retains strong backing within the group.

Fudge, along with other Pelosi critics, argue that midterm voters sent a message of change to Washington, so Democrats should heed the call — starting with an overhaul of their leadership team.

Fudge huddled with Pelosi on Friday in the Capitol, saying afterwards that she’ll decide on whether to challenge the longtime Democratic leader after Thanksgiving.

Pelosi’s supporters, meanwhile, have launched a furious lobbying campaign designed to snuff out the insurgency and return her the gavel, which she held between 2007 and 2011 as the nation’s first female Speaker.

The letter, the latest front in that campaign, has also been endorsed by Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalPush to pay congressional interns an hour gains traction with progressives Dem lawmaker says she helped group of migrants enter U.S., apply for asylum Overnight Health Care: Senators urge vote on delaying health insurance tax | Joe Kennedy III 'hopeful' he can back 'Medicare for all' bill | Latest Ebola outbreak becomes world's 2nd-worst MORE (D-Wash.), a leading voice in the Congressional Progressive Caucus who had declined to say how she’d vote earlier in the week.

“Our next Speaker needs to be strong, smart, and strategic,” Jayapal tweeted Friday evening. “The best person for the job is @NancyPelosi. I look forward to working with her in the next Congress to advance our commitment to progressive policies that fueled our historic victories.”