Five centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote

Speaker 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 (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 McCarthyBiden to meet with 6 GOP senators next week GOP is consumed by Trump conspiracy theories National Review editors defend Cheney from party attacks 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 DuckworthSu's track record make her an excellent pick for Labor Department post Senate passes bipartisan B water infrastructure bill Senate panel advances Biden's Postal Service nominees MORE (D-Ill.), a former House member turned senator who was considered a potential running mate for President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to meet with 6 GOP senators next week Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit On The Money: Five takeaways on a surprisingly poor jobs report | GOP targets jobless aid after lackluster April gain MORE last year. Golden voted two years ago for 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 (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 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 (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 KennedyFive centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote LIVE COVERAGE: House votes to name Speaker Government spending bill to include bipartisan energy provisions MORE (D-Mass.), who was unsuccessful in his primary challenge last year against Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyCivilian Climate Corps can help stem rural-urban divide Senate votes to nix Trump rule limiting methane regulation Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap MORE (D-Mass.).

Three additional Democrats voted "present": Reps. Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillGOP lawmakers request briefing on Democrats' claims of 'suspicious' Capitol tours before Jan. 6 Lawmakers question NCAA over 'disparate treatment' at women's championships NJ lawmakers ask Gannett to stop 'union-busting' efforts at 3 state newspapers MORE (N.J.), Elissa SlotkinElissa Slotkin House Republicans pressuring Democrats to return donations from Ocasio-Cortez Democrats move smaller immigration bills while eyeing broad overhaul On The Money: Biden celebrates relief bill with Democratic leaders | Democrats debate fast-track for infrastructure package MORE (Mich.) and Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerFive takeaways on the House's return to budget earmarks Lawmakers say companies need to play key role in sustainability On The Money: Weekly jobless claims fall to lowest level since lockdowns | Retail sales surge in March | Dow, S&P hit new records 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 CooperLiberal advocacy group stirs debate, discomfort with primary challenges Progressive group backing primary challenger to Tennessee Democrat GOP leader to try to force Swalwell off panel MORE (Tenn.), Jason CrowJason CrowCongress demands answers on Afghanistan withdrawal Tensions rise as Democrats face Senate bottleneck on agenda Overnight Energy: Biden reportedly will pledge to halve US emissions by 2030 | Ocasio-Cortez, Markey reintroduce Green New Deal resolution MORE (Colo.), Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindHouse Democrats hit Republicans on mobile billboard at GOP retreat House Republicans pressuring Democrats to return donations from Ocasio-Cortez Race debate grips Congress MORE (Wis.), Kathleen RiceKathleen Maura RiceHouse GOP campaign arm adds to target list Lawmakers brace for bitter fight over Biden tax plan NY House Democrats demand repeal of SALT cap MORE (N.Y.), and Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderBlue Dogs push House leadership to allow more member input Democratic majority shrinks, but finds unity Biden on precipice of first big win 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 Luther PowellOvernight Defense: Biden makes his Afghanistan decision Colin Powell on Afghanistan: 'We've done all we can do' Is nonpartisan effectiveness still possible? 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 ValadaoFive takeaways on the House's return to budget earmarks Republicans who backed Trump impeachment see fundraising boost Valadao gives Gaetz donation to victims of abuse 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 MooreLawmakers urge IRS to boost outreach about tax credits for low-income Americans McMorris Rodgers floats vacating Speaker's chair over Democrat's in-person vote after COVID diagnosis House approves rules package for new Congress 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.