Horn hasn’t pledged to back Pelosi
U.S. Rep.-elect Kendra Horn, the Oklahoma City Democrat whose surprise victory this week garnered national attention, said Friday that she has not committed to voting for Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House.
“I don’t know who all’s thrown their hat in the ring so I can’t say who I’m going to vote for but I do think the Democratic Party and Democratic leadership, they need new leaders to step in and fresh blood,” Horn said.
“That was a clear message with this incoming class.”
Pelosi, a California Democrat who was speaker from 2007 to 2011, is seeking the office again. She is 78 years old and a contentious figure in American politics, leading some Democratic representatives and incoming representatives to oppose a second speakership.
Pelosi congratulated Horn on Twitter late Tuesday and said she looks forward to working with the new congresswoman. Horn said Friday that she has not committed to supporting Pelosi and is “absolutely” interested in a new face for speaker.
“Like I said, I’m just learning who
all’s running so I can’t tell you who I’m supporting. But I do think it’s very important with the changes in cities like Oklahoma (City) and places like this, we’ve got to have leadership that understands Oklahomans,” Horn said.
“I think we’ve been such a red state for so long that we haven’t been in the conversation and people who are moderate or agree on some issues, disagree on others, haven’t really had as much of a voice at the table.”
Horn will likely vote twice on the next speaker. First, there will be a closed-door vote among Democrats later this month or in early December. Then, after Congress convenes in January and Horn is sworn in, there will be a public vote by the full House.
A Democratic House, regardless of the speaker, is certain to be a thorn in the side of President Donald Trump but Horn, a moderate Democrat in a district that has been in Republican control for 44 years, says an adversarial approach will not be her style.
“You have a Democratic House, a Republican Senate and a Republican president. That can encourage — if we choose to, and that’s my intention going up there — that can encourage compromise and, I think, better outcomes in the long run,” she said.
Horn spoke to reporters for The Oklahoman on Friday, three days after defeating U.S. Rep. Steve Russell, a Choctaw Republican, by 3,288 votes in one of the 2018 midterms’ biggest upsets. She partly credited the enthusiasm of young campaign volunteers with her victory.
“We really changed the way that campaigns work in Oklahoma,” she said.
“We hadn’t had campaigns with a lot of engagement, a lot of young people, and we rebuilt that intentionally because we wanted all of those voices at the table.”
The congresswomanelect made health care and education the core topics of the race between her and Russell and generally avoided talking about ever-changing news cycles in Washington that revolve around Trump. Horn said she was rarely asked about the president on the campaign trail and therefore rarely mentioned him.
“Health care and education weren’t just two things we decided to tell people we wanted to talk about,” she said. “It was over and over and over again what people came to us about.”
U.S. Rep-elect Kendra Horn talks Friday at the office of The Oklahoman.