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 PelosiCummings to lie in state at the Capitol House Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union —Dem wants more changes to Pelosi drug pricing bill | Ebola outbreak wanes, but funding lags | Johnson & Johnson recalls batch of baby powder after asbestos traces found 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 LoweyTrump officials say aid to Puerto Rico was knowingly stalled after Hurricane Maria McConnell tees up government funding votes amid stalemate Dem committee chairs blast Trump G-7 announcement 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 TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS 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 KirkpatrickSwing-seat Democrats oppose impeachment, handing Pelosi leverage McSally gets new primary challenger Two Democrats vow to press forward on Trump impeachment 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 BassDemocrats zero in on Ukraine call as impeachment support grows CBC marks 400th anniversary of slaves' arrival in US Senate could protect girls from sexual exploitation — but will it? MORE (Calif.), Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersHillicon Valley: FCC approves T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Dems wrangle over breaking up Big Tech at debate | Critics pounce as Facebook's Libra stumbles | Zuckerberg to be interviewed by Fox News | Twitter details rules for political figures' tweets On The Money: Tax, loan documents for Trump properties reportedly showed inconsistencies | Tensions flare as Dems hammer Trump consumer chief | Critics pounce as Facebook crypto project stumbles Zuckerberg meets with Waters ahead of congressional testimony MORE (Calif.), Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeConsequential GOP class of 1994 all but disappears Video of Greta Thunberg crossing paths with Trump at UN goes viral Lewandowski: House testimony shows I'd be 'a fighter' in the Senate MORE (Texas), Gwen MooreGwen Sophia MooreA dozen House Democrats call on EU ambassador to resign amid Ukraine scandal The 13 House Democrats who back Kavanaugh's impeachment On The Money: Senate panel scraps vote on key spending bill amid standoff | Democrats threaten to vote against defense bill over wall funding | Trump set to meet with aides about reducing capital gains taxes MORE (Wis.) and Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeDeLauro enters race to succeed Lowey as Appropriations chief The 13 House Democrats who back Kavanaugh's impeachment Lawmakers mourn death of 'Julia' star Diahann Carroll MORE (Calif.).

The profusion of CBC signatures is significant because Pelosi is facing a potential challenge from Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to testify on Libra | Extremists find home on Telegram app | Warren blasts Facebook for not removing anti-Biden ad | California outlaws facial recognition in police body cameras | China rips US tech sanctions House Democrats introduce new legislation to combat foreign election interference Harris wins endorsement of former CBC Chairwoman Marcia Fudge 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 JayapalOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union —Dem wants more changes to Pelosi drug pricing bill | Ebola outbreak wanes, but funding lags | Johnson & Johnson recalls batch of baby powder after asbestos traces found Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems advance drug pricing bill | Cases of vaping-related lung illnesses near 1,500 | Juul suspends sales of most e-cigarette flavors Warren faces tougher sell with 'Medicare for All' 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.”