Our own San Francisco representative Nancy Pelosi just took a big step to becoming Speaker of the House of Representatives again, winning a landslide victory in a closed-door House vote that nominated her to the same position she held from 2007 to 2011. But she hasn’t actually won the official vote yet, and the 32 Democratic defectors who voted against her shows that the anti-Pelosi rebellion among House Democrats is still kicking.
Today’s vote was a Democrats-only parliamentary move, and merely nominated her to be the official leader of the House of Representatives. No one on the Democratic side has announced they will run against her. But the 203-32 vote for her, which sounds like an impressive margin, is still well short of the 218 votes she will need to win Speaker of the House when Congress reconvenes in January.
The 78-year-old Pelosi was winning over converts right up until the last minute, with her backroom dealmaking and horse-trading that symbolizes why you either love or hate Nancy Pelosi. Just hours before the vote, Pelosi won over nearly a dozen opponents who called themselves the Problem Solvers Caucus by promising changes to obscure governance maneuvers on proposed bills.
She’s been making similar deals and arrangements since Election Day, including winning over incoming freshman sensation Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
But Pelosi hasn’t won over all the Democrats she needs, and there’s a resistance against her within the party.
“It’s about agitating for change, that’s what we need here,” Pelosi opponent Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) told reporters after the vote. “The voters went out and did some extraordinary things. They went out and knocked on doors, they made phone calls, they agitated for change. If we don’t take that message and do the same here, shame on us.”
At current count, Pelosi needs to win over 18 Democratic representatives who did not vote for her today. The final vote for Speaker of the House of Representatives is Jan. 3, 2019.