Another Dem to oppose Pelosi

Another Dem to oppose Pelosi
© Stefani Reynolds

The road to the Speakership grew a bit steeper for Rep. Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico This week: House jump-starts effort to prevent shutdown Schumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill MORE (D-Calif.) on Wednesday when another Democrat announced his opposition to the longtime party leader.

Rep. Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindPelosi woos progressives on prescription drug pricing plan Protect American patients and innovation from a harmful MedTech Tax increase We should repeal the medical device tax on veterans MORE (D), an 11-term Wisconsin lawmaker, noted that he voted against Pelosi’s leadership bid on the floor two years ago, and he’s planning to do the same in January.

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“I’ve been consistent in saying we’re in desperate need of new leadership on both sides, as we move forward in the new Congress,” Kind told The Hill.

A senior Democratic aide fired back, noting that Kind has supported Pelosi’s top lieutenants — Reps. Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThis week: House jump-starts effort to prevent shutdown Words matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump Nadler: Impeachment inquiry a 'made-up term' but it's essentially 'what we are doing' MORE (D-Md.) and James Clyburn (D-S.C.) — who have also been at the top of the party for more than a decade.

“This reasoning falls quite flat given Rep. Kind’s vote for Hoyer and Clyburn today,” the aide said, referring to Wednesday’s leadership votes on Capitol Hill.

“Kind is even on Hoyer’s letter so he’s very comfortable with an older man staying put.”

For Kind, the move is not entirely unexpected. A former chairman of the New Democrat Coalition, Kind had backed Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John RyanFive top 2020 Democrats haven't committed to MSNBC climate forum Progressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum The Hill's 12:30 Report: House panel approves impeachment powers MORE’s (D-Ohio) unsuccessful challenge of Pelosi in 2016. And he was one of just four Democrats to oppose Pelosi in the Speaker vote on the House floor in January of 2017.

Still, Kind has floated largely under the radar this year as the fight over Pelosi’s future has heated up and divided the party into dueling factions.

Kind did not endorse a letter, organized by a small but determined group of insurgents, seeking to block Pelosi’s bid for the Speaker’s gavel, which she held between 2007 and 2011. And he declined to play his hand earlier in the month, saying he first intended to meet with Pelosi.

Whatever was said during their meeting, which occurred before the Thanksgiving break, it hasn’t shaken Kind’s belief that the Democrats need a crop of fresh faces at the top of the party. And he predicted that Pelosi’s critics have the numbers this year to oust her after 15 years at the helm.

“I think she still has a math problem getting to 218,” Kind said.

Pelosi has made inroads with some of her early detractors in recent weeks, winning them over to her side after offering committee gavels and promises to prioritize favored legislation. Kind warned, however, that there’s nothing Pelosi can offer that would change his mind.

“That’s not the game that I play,” he said.

The comments came just hours after House Democrats voted overwhelmingly to nominate Pelosi to become Speaker in the next Congress. The vote was a lopsided 203-32, leaving Pelosi’s supporters confident that she can rally the additional support in the five weeks remaining before the public Speaker vote on the House floor.

The insurgents saw the vote in a different light, as their goal was merely to demonstrate that Pelosi lacks the support of 218 Democrats — the number she’ll need to win the gavel on the floor.

Ryan said he viewed the tally as a victory for the detractors in delivering that message. And Kind’s emergence as an under-the-radar opponent suggests there may be others in the anti-Pelosi camp who are just staying quiet — for now.

Rep.-elect Steven HorsfordSteven Alexander HorsfordThe Hill's Campaign Report: Pressure builds for Democrats who missed third debate cut Key endorsements: A who's who in early states T.I., Charlamagne Tha God advocate for opportunity zones on Capitol Hill MORE (D-Nev.) declined Wednesday to say how he voted in the private ballot — or how he’ll vote on the floor in January.

“In January, it’ll be known,” he said.