Dems get more time be­fore lead­er­ship vote

Pelosi de­lays the elec­tion date to end of the month

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND NATION - By Laura Lit­van

House Demo­cratic leader Nancy Pelosi, DCalif., de­layed this week’s planned vote on a lead­er­ship team un­til Nov. 30 amid dis­ar­ray over the party’s worse-than- ex­pected elec­tion results.

Pelosi in­formed fel­low Democrats of the de­lay dur­ing a pri­vate meet­ing Tues­day in Wash­ing­ton. The vote had been set for Thurs­day, though Pelosi had pre­vi­ously backed Nov. 30 as an elec­tion date.

Pelosi told re­porters the de­ci­sion to re­turn the vote to the end of the month “doesn’t mean very much” and will give law­mak­ers more time to con­sider is­sues. Sev­eral law­mak­ers said they don’t think her po­si­tion is in dan­ger.

House Demo­cratic lead­ers had faced pres­sure to de­lay plans to elect party lead­ers for the next ses­sion of Congress af­ter the party saw bal­lot-box losses last week that re­sulted in the loss of the pres­i­dency and left Re­pub­li­cans in con­trol of the Se­nate and House.

Push­ing the date back gives po­ten­tial Pelosi chal­lengers or can­di­dates for other posts time to cam­paign among their col­leagues.

Rep. G.K. But­ter­field, a North Carolina Demo­crat, told re­porters af­ter the meet­ing that he doesn’t think Pelosi is at risk and noted no one has yet for­mally an­nounced plans to op­pose her. “Ms. Pelosi en­joys great sup­port in the cau­cus and this doesn’t re­flect on her,” he said.

But­ter­field, the chair­man of the Con­gres­sional Black Cau­cus, said the de­lay re­flects how Democrats Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., isn’t in dan­ger of los­ing her po­si­tion of House mi­nor­ity leader, sev­eral law­mak­ers said. are reel­ing af­ter the elec­tion. “We got a shel­lack­ing,” he said. “It’s just like af­ter a death, there are dif­fer­ent stages of grief you go through.”

Rep. Louise M. Slaugh­ter of New York said Democrats are still di­gest­ing the results of last week’s elec­tions and Pres­i­den­t­elect Don­ald Trump’s rise.

“We’re try­ing to fig­ure out how 17 dif­fer­ent polling com­pa­nies got it to­tally wrong,” Slaugh­ter said. “I have no crit­i­cism of the lead­er­ship. I think what ev­ery­one wanted was to have a chance to vent.”

One law­maker, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, is con­sid­er­ing a bid to chal­lenge Pelosi as mi­nor­ity leader, his of­fice said Mon­day.

Oth­ers have been mak­ing ini­tial calls to col­leagues, say sev­eral mem­bers, ask­ing not to be iden­ti­fied, but none have yet de­clared for cer­tain they are chal­leng­ing her.

“We’re all re-eval­u­at­ing right now,” Ryan said Tues­day. “My­goal was to ex­tend this. We got our butts kicked and we need to move this for­ward.” He said Democrats need a lead­er­ship team that can go into South­ern states and Mid­west­ern states and bring work­ing-class vot­ers back to the Demo­cratic Party.

Rep. Marcy Kap­tur, DOhio, said she would con­sider a chal­lenger to Pelosi, adding that Democrats have lost touch with voter sen­ti­ment about free trade.

“If some­one from our re­gion en­tered the race, I would have to re­con­sider,” she said.

Trump “came from a dif­fer­ent place, but the work­ers and ci­ti­zens of our re­gions heard him. Congress has been co­matose on this is­sue for over three decades,” she said. “Democrats need to meet the pres­i­dent-elect half­way.”

Rep. Adam Schiff of Cal­i­for­nia said Democrats are bruised over the elec­tion re­sult and need to give far stronger em­pha­sis to eco­nomic is­sues.

“We won the pop­u­lar vote, but welost what re­ally mat­tered, places like the Rust Belt where peo­ple are feel­ing a lot of eco­nomic pain,” he said. “We need to speak more about the eco­nomic crunches that peo­ple are fac­ing and what our so­lu­tions are.”

CAROLYN KASTER/AP

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