Democrats Plotting to Oust Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker
Democratic Party shifts even further left, seeks more radical leadership
Democrats are reportedly plotting to oust Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as speaker of the House as the Democratic Party seeks more radical leadership.
Speaker Pelosi is facing tough questions about her ability to win enough votes to retain her leadership in the House of Representatives.
Democrats shrunk their House majority, moderates in the party plotted to back a challenger, and a new wave of far-left candidates won congressional seats.
Democrats went into Tuesday night expecting to increase their majority in the House by pushing deeper into President Donald Trump's 2016 win territory, but instead, Republicans made gains.
Two centrist House Democrats already say they are contacting colleagues to round up support for House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, a top Pelosi lieutenant, for Speaker in the next Congress, according to The Hill.
Several moderate House Dems only won tough re-elections after vowing not to back Pelosi for another term as speaker, according to The Daily Mail.
They view Jeffries as a potential establishment leader who could garner support from Ocasio-Cortez's so-called "Squad" of radicals.
"He bridges moderates and progressives better than anyone," one Democratic lawmaker told The Hill of Jeffries.
"And most importantly, he's not Nancy Pelosi.
"He's the only one prepared and positioned" to be speaker.
Publicly, Jeffries has shot down any notion of seeking the top leadership role, remaining loyal to Pelosi, and saying he is focused on retaining his current job.
The speaker is chosen by a majority vote of the entire House, meaning that in theory, a handful of centrist Democrats could force the party's hand in the case of a slim majority by threatening to side with Republicans.
However, it's unclear whether Ocasio-Cortez's powerful faction would back Jeffries for speaker after she previously threatened to back a primary challenger against the fellow New York Democrat in the 2020 election.
All four members of Ocasio-Cortez's squad won re-election on Tuesday, and the faction added three new progressive allies in districts in Missouri and New York.
Pelosi was notably quiet on Wednesday regarding her party's shrinking margin in the House.
She didn't directly address her losses in a letter to her Democratic colleagues, aside from calling the election "challenging."
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, said the erosion of the Democratic majority could threaten Pelosi's grip on the speaker's chair.
"I know the vote on the floor is difficult for speaker," McCarthy said at a press conference Wednesday, alluding to Democratic defectors two years ago.
"I know there was a number of people who did not vote for her last time.
"And as our numbers continue to grow, I think at the end of the day, no matter where we end up, we'll be able to have a very big say, or even run the floor when it comes to policy," McCarthy predicted.
After the 2018 election, Pelosi survived a challenge to her leadership of the caucus - but was on more solid footing with her party's control of the House than she will be in this cycle.
After the votes are all counted in Tuesday's election, Republicans could very well have a net gain of 10 House seats.
Pelosi led the House with 232 seats compared to Republicans' 197 going into Election Day, but it now appears that the GOP will have somewhere north of 200 seats, holding a solid minority with more power than they've had the last two years.
The Democratic leader along with Chairwoman of House Democrats' campaign arm Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois predicted a sunny outcome for Democrats Tuesday, claiming they would defend the 2018 gains and flip districts previously thought to be in safe Republican territory.
"I think we are going to see some wins in these deep red districts that over time you're going to see going from ruby red to purple to even blue," Bustos said Tuesday.
She also leaned into the uncertainty of this years' election, adding in her remarks "this is an Election Day that may end up looking like an Election Week."
While Republicans overall are declaring Tuesday a win for their party in the House, more progressive Democrats, including all four members of the "Squad," earned a win in their House races.
Representatives Ocasio-Cortez of New York; Ilhan Omar of Minnesota; Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts; and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan all solidly won reelection bids in their respective districts.
They also added a few new members to their "Squad," to the dismay of Pelosi – a more establishment Democrat whose views often don't line up with those in the more progressive arm of the party.
Like the other current "Squad" members, Bush was also put in place by the Soros-linked Justice Democrats group.
The Squad also added its first two male members with Jamaal Bowman, who won his race in New York's 16th District, and Mondaire Jones in New York 17.
Bowman said, "2018 was just the beginning when my sisters in The Squad were able to win their positions.
"Now we're more than doubling up, in terms of those who are coming in with an unapologetically progressive platform rooted in centering racial and economic justice," he added.
Potentially the biggest House win for Republicans was flipping Minnesota's 7th District seat red after trying to unseat Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson there for decades and 15 terms.
Peterson, 76, has held his seat in the midwest state since 1991 but was solidly beat out by Republican Michelle Fischbach who earned 53.6 percent of the vote to his 39.8 percent.
Only Minneapolis, the state's largest city, and its suburbs voted for Peterson's reelection, yet again.
With the help of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), the GOP had the funds and organization to mobilize House race efforts.
The GOP added several women to their ranks Tuesday night.
"We defied the odds. It's the night of the Republican women," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Politico early Wednesday Morning.
"The Democrats never solved one problem in their majority.
"They promised they would govern differently, and they didn't."
Republicans beat two South Florida Democratic incumbents in the Miami area, which usually goes strongly blue – especially in presidential elections.
Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala, who at 78 at the time was the oldest freshman woman ever elected, lost her seat to broadcast journalist Maria Elvira Shalazar in Florida's 27th District.
And Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell lost her seat to Republican Carlos Gimenez, a Cuban American, who won the 26th District seat.
Incumbent Democrats were also defeated by GOP candidates in New Mexico, Oklahoma and South Carolina and Republicans were able to hold onto vulnerable districts in places like Texas and elsewhere.
Nancy Mace took Rep. Joe Cunningham's House seat in South Carolina 1st District.
Republican candidate Nicole Malliotakis is ahead in New York's 11th District, which includes Staten Island – and is on track to beat incumbent Democrat Max Rose with a 15.8 percent margin as of Wednesday morning.
Democratic Reps. Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico and Kendra Horn of Oklahoma will also both vacate their seats for Republicans to take over in January.
In Virginia's 7th District, which spans a large area west, northwest, and southwest of Richmond, Republican Nick Freitas is on track to defeat Democrat incumbent Abigail Spanberger.