House

Dem women rally behind Pelosi

Greg Nash

Dozens of Democratic women — incumbents and newcomers alike — are rallying behind Rep. Nancy Pelosi (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 Lowey (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.

{mosads}“Now that we are faced with unprecedented threats to our democracy, women, minorities, and even the most basic American values by President Trump, 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 Kirkpatrick (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 Bass (Calif.), Maxine Waters (Calif.), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Gwen Moore (Wis.) and Barbara Lee (Calif.).

The profusion of CBC signatures is significant because Pelosi is facing a potential challenge from Rep. Marcia Fudge (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 Jayapal (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.”

Tags Ann Kirkpatrick Barbara Lee Donald Trump Gwen Moore Karen Bass Marcia Fudge Maxine Waters Nancy Pelosi Nita Lowey Pramila Jayapal Sheila Jackson Lee
See all Hill.TV See all Video