Incoming Dem Sharice Davids announces support for Pelosi

Incoming Dem Sharice Davids announces support for Pelosi
© Greg Nash

Rep.-elect Sharice DavidsSharice DavidsFirst Native American Congresswoman presides over House Kansas Senate race splits wide open without Pompeo Trump gets dose of new political reality at State of the Union MORE (D-Kan.) announced Saturday that she would support House Democratic 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 (Calif.) in her bid to retake the Speaker's gavel.

“Kansans didn’t elect me to go to Washington to play political games and take symbolic protest votes. They elected me to get things done," Davids, who unseated incumbent Rep. Kevin YoderKevin Wayne YoderKansas Senate race splits wide open without Pompeo Mike Pompeo to speak at Missouri-Kansas Forum amid Senate bid speculation Yoder, Messer land on K Street MORE (R) earlier this month, said in a statement.

"The best way to move forward as we face unprecedented threats to our healthcare access and to our democracy is to unite behind the person who is clearly going to become the next speaker, and who, whatever differences we may have, will stand up to those threats,” she added. 

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Davids was one of several incoming Democratic lawmakers who had remained undecided or expressed skepticism at reelecting Pelosi as the Democratic caucus’ longtime leader following an election many argued reflected a desire for change.

“I’m still looking to make sure that whoever I vote for for Speaker is going to lay out a clear plan for how we’re going to do things differently,” she told local ABC affiliate KMBC earlier this month.

Pelosi is widely respected among Democrats for her fundraising prowess and ability to hold her caucus together to push legislation through Congress and she has secured the backing of a number of reticent Democrats since the midterm elections this month.

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), who was considering challenging Pelosi for Speaker, backed down and endorsed Pelosi after she was promised a chairwoman position on a committee on voter suppression.

Rep. Brian HigginsBrian HigginsKoch-backed group pushes for new limits on Trump's tariff authority Dems offer smaller step toward ‘Medicare for all' Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Powerful House committee turns to drug pricing | Utah governor defies voters on Medicaid expansion | Dems want answers on controversial new opioid MORE (D-N.Y.), who endorsed a letter earlier in the week opposing Pelosi’s bid for Speaker, similarly said that he had struck a deal to back Pelosi, with her prioritizing an infrastructure package and an expansion of Medicare next year.

Davids on Saturday praised the diversity of the Democrats’ incoming class of members and noted that other, less high-profile leadership positions are also attracting younger candidates.

“I am one of more than 50 new Democratic members this year. Our class is the youngest and most diverse class ever, and we’re a significant portion of the Democratic caucus. Together we will have more influence on our caucus than any freshman class since the Watergate era,” she said.

“Not only that, but a new generation of outstanding candidates for other leadership positions have stepped forward-- from Rep. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosProgressive demands put new pressures on Democrats House Dems haul in record donations for February The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority MORE for DCCC Chair, to Rep. Ben Ray Lujan for Assistant Leader, to Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesBipartisan think tank to honor lawmakers who offer 'a positive tenor' GOP leader needles Dems on anti-Semitism resolution Dems under fire put brakes on Omar resolution MORE for Caucus Chair to Rep.-elect Chrissy Houlahan for the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. The new generation of leaders is growing and we won’t be ignored.” 

Much of the opposition to Pelosi emerged in swing districts during the midterm campaigns by moderate Democrats running to unseat Republicans. Critics of the insurgents fear that a replacement to Pelosi, who has garnered the endorsements of several progressive groups, would be more conservative than the current leader. 

Davids cited new rules Pelosi has come out in support of as another reason for her backing of the current House minority leader.

“The proposed new rules include measures that would give the public enough time to read bills before they’re voted on, help end the brinkmanship around the debt ceiling that repeatedly threatens our country’s economy, make it easier to bring measures that have broad support to the floor for a vote, make it harder to raise taxes on the middle class, and generally restore regular order to the House of Representatives,” Davids said. 

“The Leader has also gotten behind a package of good-government reforms that I endorsed during the campaign to help rebuild people’s trust in their government and make our democracy work better with provisions on campaign finance reform and voting rights. I will continue to advocate for those changes and to hold the Democratic leadership accountable for making these things happen,” she added.

It appears increasingly likely that Democrats will select Pelosi as their candidate for Speaker later this month. However, the remaining insurgents have more power when it comes to Pelosi’s wider confirmation in January, when she must get the support of a majority of the entire House of Representatives.   

Democrats have picked up 37 seats thus far, with four races yet to be called. If Democrats win all of the outstanding contests, Pelosi could lose 18 votes within her party and still clinch the gavel if all Republicans oppose her. If Democrats lose all of those uncalled races, she could afford to lose 14. 

However, 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 (R-N.Y.) told The Hill last week he and some other Republicans are committed to backing Pelosi for Speaker if she agrees to enact a package of rule reforms.