Pelosi wins over an­other vote in bid for House speaker

The Sacramento Bee - - State - BY MIKE DEBONIS Wash­ing­ton Post

Demo­cratic Rep. Stephen Lynch, who had op­posed Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s bid for House speaker, re­versed course and an­nounced on Fri­day that he will sup­port her can­di­dacy.

It was the lat­est boost to Pelosi’s bid to re­gain the speaker’s gavel af­ter eight years in the mi­nor­ity and the lat­est blow to the small band of Democrats who are threat­en­ing to with­hold their votes to force a shake-up in the party’s top ranks.

Lynch of Mas­sachusetts had signed a let­ter last month call­ing for “new lead­er­ship” at the top of the party, join­ing 15 col­leagues. But on Fri­day he said Pelosi, D-Calif., had his “full sup­port” fol­low­ing “sev­eral days of pro­duc­tive con­ver­sa­tions and grow­ing clar­ity on the fu­ture di­rec­tion and pri­or­i­ties of the Demo­cratic House.”

Lynch’s re­ver­sal puts Pelosi closer to se­cur­ing the votes she needs to win in a sched­uled Jan. 3 elec­tion, though she still re­mains sev­eral votes short.

A Wash­ing­ton Post tally counts 22 Democrats who are now openly op­posed to her, with an­other 18 dodg­ing ques­tions about their po­si­tions. She can af­ford to lose up to 17 Demo­cratic votes if all mem­bers vote for an in­di­vid­ual.

But Pelosi has doggedly worked to win over her crit­ics. Last month, Pelosi se­cured the sup­port of Rep. Mar­cia Fudge, DOhio, who was con­sid­er­ing a run against her, and of Rep. Brian Hig­gins, D-N.Y., who signed the let­ter with Lynch.

One in­com­ing fresh­man, Rep.-elect Ha­ley Stevens, D-Mich., also said this week she planned to vote for Pelosi next month af­ter say­ing she wanted new lead­er­ship dur­ing her cam­paign and vot­ing against Pelosi last month in a party nom­i­nat­ing vote.

“I was clear go­ing into that vote with her and the rest of the lead­er­ship about where I would be,” she told the Oak­land Press, a lo­cal pa­per in Michi­gan. “I was also clear with her that I wouldn’t be vot­ing against her on the House floor in Jan­uary.”

A larger group of Democrats are now ne­go­ti­at­ing with the 78-year-old Pelosi – who has been the top House Demo­crat for nearly 16 years – in hopes of get­ting younger mem­bers a greater role in the party lead­er­ship. One of them, Rep. Ed Perl­mut­ter, DColo., said last week that he is seek­ing to se­cure “some kind of tran­si­tion” in an in­ter­view.

One point of ne­go­ti­a­tion could sur­round im­ple­ment­ing term lim­its on Demo­cratic com­mit­tee chair­men for the first time. While Repub­li­cans limit their com­mit­tee chairs to three terms, Democrats have ad­hered to a se­nior­ity-based sys­tem, and many mi­nor­ity law­mak­ers credit that with al­low­ing them to rise up the ranks.

But it has also led to frus­tra­tions among younger mem­bers who are faced with spend­ing decades be­fore they reach the up­per ech­e­lons of leg­isla­tive in­flu­ence.

Pelosi, who has pre­vi­ously con­sid­ered and re­jected mov­ing away from the se­nior­ity sys­tem, said Thurs­day that she was “sym­pa­thetic” to younger mem­bers’ con­cerns but de­clined to en­dorse it out­right.

“I say that’s a de­bate for the cau­cus to have, and we will have that,” she said.



House Demo­cratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of Cal­i­for­nia meets with re­porters at her weekly news con­fer­ence on Capi­tol Hill in Wash­ing­ton, Thurs­day.

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