Rising Dem star to back Pelosi: 'You can't beat someone with no one'

Rising Dem star to back Pelosi: 'You can't beat someone with no one'
© Stefani Reynolds

Rep.-elect Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) announced Tuesday she would support Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiJohnson eyes Irish border in Brexit negotiations Mueller report fades from political conversation Five key players in Trump's trade battles MORE (D-Calif.) to be Congress’s next Speaker of the House, a coup for the California Democrat as she wins the support of another previous detractor.

"You can't beat someone with no one, and the fact is that voting against Pelosi on the floor is a vote for the Republican nominee," Hayes said in a tweet on Tuesday. 

Hayes, a former Teacher of the Year elected to Congress in her first race, expanded on her reasoning in a statement.

She acknowledged talking "about the need for generational change within the Democratic Party" during the primary.

"It is something I believed then and still believe today. Simply put, if we don’t infuse the pipeline with the next generation of leaders now, it is to our peril,” Hayes said.

But Hayes added she "was not willing to make change just for the sake of making change" and had taken the time to listen to other members of Congress about choosing a Speaker.

She said she had been "hopeful that many candidates would step up to the plate and there would be multiple options to choose from when selecting our next Speaker."

However, she noted no other candidate had come forward.

"I have seen reports of other candidates, but to date, the only person that has declared their intentions, spoke to me about their vision and asked me for my vote is Nancy Pelosi,” she concluded. 

Hayes was one of several incoming members who had expressed skepticism during the campaign at reelecting Pelosi as Speaker should Democrats take the House as they did in the Nov. 6 election. 

The comments are a stark contrast from the campaign, when she flatly declared, “I would not vote for Nancy Pelosi.”

Pelosi is likely to be elected Speaker in the next Congress. The longtime leader is widely respected for her fundraising prowess and ability to hold her caucus together to push legislation through Congress.

A charm campaign has also brought several detractors into her fold as no prominent rival appears set to challenge the California Democrat.

Democrats have picked up 39 seats thus far, with one race yet to be called. If Democrats win the remaining contests, Pelosi could lose 18 votes within her party and still clinch the gavel even if all Republicans oppose her. 

However, Rep. Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedRepublicans' rendezvous with reality — their plan is to cut Social Security The Democratic plan for smaller paychecks House passes bill to update tax code to help same-sex married couples MORE (R-N.Y.) told The Hill earlier this month he and some other Republicans are committed to backing Pelosi for Speaker if she agrees to enact a package of rule reforms.