Five centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse leaders unveil bill to boost chip industry, science competitiveness with China Pelosi says she will run for reelection in 2022 Hoyer says 'significant' version of Build Back Better will pass this year MORE (D-Calif.) lost five Democratic defectors in her razor-thin margin for winning reelection to what is likely to be her final term as Speaker on Sunday in a vote that fell under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic and a historically thin House majority.

Pelosi managed to win over some of the 15 Democrats who previously declined to back her for Speaker in 2019 to muscle her way to another two years leading House Democrats.

But a handful of centrists who represent competitive districts who also opposed Pelosi for Speaker in 2019 did so again on Sunday at the start of the new session of Congress.


Pelosi won 216 votes to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyPress: Newt says lock 'em up – for doing their job!  The Hill's Morning Report - Biden, NATO eye 'all scenarios' with Russia On The Money — Support for new COVID-19 relief grows MORE's (R-Calif.) 209. Not a single Republican defected from McCarthy, compared to six in 2019. Other defectors from two years ago did not win reelection.

Lawmakers can nominate anyone to be Speaker as a symbolic gesture — even people who are not members of the House.

Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) cast his Speaker vote for Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans We must learn from the Afghanistan experience — starting with the withdrawal MORE (D-Ill.), a former House member turned senator who was considered a potential running mate for President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors On The Money — Vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses nixed Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case MORE last year. Golden voted two years ago for Rep. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosSwalwell slams House Republican for touting funding in bill she voted down To boost economy and midterm outlook, Democrats must pass clean energy bill On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood MORE (D-Ill.), who was the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at the time.

Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.), meanwhile, voted for House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesPelosi says she will run for reelection in 2022 WATCH: The Hill recaps the top stories of the week Fury over voting rights fight turns personal on Capitol Hill  MORE (D-N.Y.), who is considered a rising star in the caucus ranks. Lamb previously cast his vote for Speaker in 2019 for former Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedySupreme Court confounding its partisan critics Warren says she'll run for reelection to Senate Five centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote MORE (D-Mass.), who was unsuccessful in his primary challenge last year against Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyBiden comments add momentum to spending bill's climate measures  Overnight Energy & Environment — Starting from 'scratch' on climate, spending bill Overnight Health Care — White House boosts mask availability MORE (D-Mass.).

Three additional Democrats voted "present": Reps. Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillMeeks leading bipartisan trip to Ukraine amid Russia tensions Democrats look back on Jan. 6 with emotion Democrats gain edge from New Jersey Redistricting Commission-approved maps MORE (N.J.), Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinSunday shows preview: US reaffirms support for Ukraine amid threat of Russian invasion Michigan Republicans sue over US House district lines Pandemic pushes teachers unions to center stage ahead of midterms MORE (Mich.) and Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerPelosi says she's open to stock trading ban for Congress On The Money — Ban on stock trading for Congress gains steam Joining Pelosi, Hoyer says lawmakers should be free to trade stocks MORE (Va.). Slotkin similarly voted "present" in 2019, while Spanberger and Sherrill had voted for Bustos.


Slotkin said ahead of the vote that she gave Pelosi a heads up and argued that Democrats should be making room for new leaders from the Midwest.

"I've been pretty vocal about the need for more Midwestern leaders, people who represent areas like where I'm from. And also I think it's important to be training a next generation of leaders, right? As just a healthy habit of building the bench. So I was upfront with her. We had a one-on-one conversation right after the election, just as we did back in 2018. And I'm going to vote to live up to that commitment to my district," Slotkin told reporters.

Spanberger similarly called for new leadership from Pelosi, who has led House Democrats in both the majority and minority since 2003.

"Last Congress, I kept my promise to vote for new leadership upon my swearing-in - and in this Congress, I remain consistent in my commitment to ushering in new leadership. Accordingly, I did not vote for Speaker Pelosi," Spanberger said in a statement.

Pelosi won over some Democrats who opposed her for Speaker in 2019, including Reps. Jim CooperJim CooperCooper becomes latest House Democrat to not seek reelection The Hill's Morning Report - Biden, NATO eye 'all scenarios' with Russia Five Democrats the left plans to target MORE (Tenn.), Jason CrowJason CrowCO lawmakers ask DOJ to investigate police's knowledge about alleged shooter Democrats look back on Jan. 6 with emotion Jan. 6 brings Democrats, Cheneys together — with GOP mostly absent MORE (Colo.), Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindRedistricting reform key to achieving the bipartisanship Americans claim to want Democrats confront rising retirements as difficult year ends Members of Congress not running for reelection in 2022 MORE (Wis.), Kathleen RiceKathleen Maura RiceRapper French Montana talks opioid epidemic, immigration on Capitol Hill Five takeaways: House passes Biden's sweeping benefits bill Dems brace for score on massive Biden bill MORE (N.Y.), and Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderHouse passes bill to strengthen shipping supply chain Five takeaways: House passes Biden's sweeping benefits bill House passes giant social policy and climate measure MORE (Ore.).


Since then, Pelosi tapped Crow to serve as an impeachment manager to argue House Democrats' case before the Senate last year. Rice also recently won a coveted seat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Cooper has declined to support Pelosi in every Speaker election since 2011 and twice voted for former Secretary of State Colin PowellColin PowellCooper becomes latest House Democrat to not seek reelection How American progressives normalize anti-Semitism Juan Williams: The GOP is an anti-America party MORE. In 2019, Cooper voted "present."

Democrats currently have a 222-211 majority over Republicans, with two seats not yet filled.

Two Republicans missed the Speaker election on Sunday after testing positive for COVID-19: Reps.-elect Maria Elvira Salazar (Fla.) and David ValadaoDavid Goncalves ValadaoThe fates of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump Republican rep who voted to impeach Trump running for reelection Each state's population center, visualized MORE (Calif.).

But the Capitol physician approved the installation of a Plexiglass enclosure in the visitors' gallery overlooking the House chamber to accommodate members who were subject to quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Rep. Gwen MooreGwen Sophia MoorePentagon 'aware' of reports Wisconsin military base's struggle to feed, heat Afghan refugees Wisconsin GOP quietly prepares Ron Johnson backup plans Pelosi picks Democrats for special panel tackling inequality MORE (D-Wis.), who announced six days ago that she had tested positive for COVID-19, also said Sunday that she had received clearance from the Capitol physician to vote on the floor. But Moore acknowledged to a reporter that she had not received a negative test.