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Incoming Dem Sharice Davids announces support for Pelosi

Incoming Dem Sharice Davids announces support for Pelosi
© Greg Nash

Rep.-elect Sharice DavidsSharice DavidsIs nonpartisan effectiveness still possible? Biden to meet with bipartisan lawmakers on infrastructure When infrastructure fails MORE (D-Kan.) announced Saturday that she would support House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden to meet with 6 GOP senators next week Five takeaways on a surprisingly poor jobs report On The Money: Weekly jobless claims fall to 498K, hitting new post-lockdown low | House to advance appropriations bills in June, July 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 YoderBottom line Bottom line Amanda Adkins wins GOP primary to challenge Rep. Sharice Davids 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 FudgeHHS, HUD team up to extend COVID-19 vaccine access in vulnerable communities Iowa governor signs law allowing landlords to refuse Section 8 vouchers Ohio sets special election to replace retiring Rep. Steve Stivers 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 HigginsHouse GOP campaign arm adds to target list Democrats have a growing tax problem with SALT Eighth person charged in alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Whitmer 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 BustosDemocrats confront difficult prospects for midterms Democrat Cheri Bustos to retire from Congress GOP campaign chief confident his party will win back House MORE for DCCC Chair, to Rep. Ben Ray Lujan for Assistant Leader, to Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesOn The Money: Breaking down Biden's .8T American Families Plan | Powell voices confidence in Fed's handle on inflation | Wall Street basks in 'Biden boom' Democratic leaders push to boost congressional staff pay Troy Carter wins race to fill Cedric Richmond's Louisiana House seat 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 ReedTom ReedLawmakers brace for battles with colleagues as redistricting kicks off Hundreds of businesses sign on to support LGBTQ rights legislation House panel opens probe into Tom Reed over sexual misconduct allegations 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.