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Five centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus Calls grow for 9/11-style panel to probe Capitol attack Do Democrats really want unity? 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.

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Pelosi won 216 votes to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyHouse GOP leader says he has 'concerns' over Cheney's impeachment vote McCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Cheney tests Trump grip on GOP post-presidency 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 DuckworthOvernight Defense: Austin takes helm at Pentagon | COVID-19 briefing part of Day 1 agenda | Outrage over images of National Guard troops in parking garage National Guard back inside Capitol after having been moved to parking garage Senate approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee MORE (D-Ill.), a former House member turned senator who was considered a potential running mate for President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenDC residents jumped at opportunity to pay for meals for National Guardsmen Joe Biden might bring 'unity' – to the Middle East Biden shouldn't let defeating cancer take a backseat to COVID MORE last year. Golden voted two years ago for Rep. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosFive centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote LIVE COVERAGE: House votes to name Speaker AOC v. Pelosi: Round 12? 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 JeffriesUS Chamber of Commerce to stop supporting some lawmakers following the Capitol riots Lawmakers mount pressure on Trump to leave office Sunday shows - Capitol siege, Trump future dominate 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 MarkeyDemocrats shoot down McConnell's filibuster gambit Biden signs executive order invoking 2-year lobbying ban for appointees Five centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote MORE (D-Mass.).

Three additional Democrats voted "present": Reps. Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillCalls grow for 9/11-style panel to probe Capitol attack Do Democrats really want unity? Belfast's Troubles echo in today's Washington MORE (N.J.), Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinFive centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote Pelosi wins Speakership for fourth time in dramatic vote LIVE COVERAGE: House votes to name Speaker MORE (Mich.) and Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerHillicon Valley: Intelligence agency gathers US smartphone location data without warrants, memo says | Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian hack on DOJ, courts | Airbnb offers Biden administration help with vaccine distribution House lawmakers reintroduce bipartisan bill to weed out foreign disinformation on social media 'I saw my life flash before my eyes': An oral history of the Capitol attack MORE (Va.). Slotkin similarly voted "present" in 2019, while Spanberger and Sherrill had voted for Bustos.

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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 CooperFive centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote Pelosi wins Speakership for fourth time in dramatic vote LIVE COVERAGE: House votes to name Speaker MORE (Tenn.), Jason CrowJason CrowThe GOP is in a fix: Gordian knot or existential crisis? Thousands of troops dig in for inauguration Sixth House Republican backs Trump impeachment MORE (Colo.), Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindFive centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote Pelosi wins Speakership for fourth time in dramatic vote LIVE COVERAGE: House votes to name Speaker MORE (Wis.), Kathleen RiceKathleen Maura RiceTensions running high after gun incident near House floor Trust between lawmakers reaches all-time low after Capitol riots Trump's Georgia call triggers debate on criminal penalties MORE (N.Y.), and Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderWhy are millions still flowing into the presidential inauguration? Democrats poised to impeach Trump again Five centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote MORE (Ore.).

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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 PowellWhite supremacists endanger the military on the battlefield The challenge of Biden's first days: staying focused and on message Colin Powell: 'I can no longer call myself a fellow Republican' 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 ValadaoScars of Capitol attack permeate high-security inauguration Upton becomes first member of Congress to vote to impeach two presidents The Hill's Morning Report - Trump impeached again; now what? 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 MooreMcMorris Rodgers floats vacating Speaker's chair over Democrat's in-person vote after COVID diagnosis House approves rules package for new Congress Top House Appropriations Republican tests COVID-19 positive 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.