House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) retirement rumors are swirling about Washington, DC, as congressional Democrats are swarming for power.
Pelosi has not officially announced she will retire or campaign for reelection, but CNN reported Friday she may make good on her promise and opt to vacate her seat because it is unlikely Democrats will retain the House majority.
If Pelosi does decide to campaign for reelection, she has a massive war chest ready for deployment. Over the last 20 years of being in Congress, she has reportedly raised over $1 billion for the Democrat caucus.
“Everyone assumes this is her last term, but no one knows for sure,” one Pelosi comrade told CNN. “People don’t realize how hard it was to win (the speaker’s race) last time. (Pelosi’s office denies that the race was difficult.)”
“I’m not here to talk about me, I’m here to talk about building back better,” Pelosi says, swatting away a question on whether she will run for re-election next year
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 19, 2021
Former top Pelosi staffer Nadeam Elshami also told CNN Pelosi is keeping her reelection plans “close to the vest” and that “[n]o one knows” if she will run for reelection, despite suggesting she would not.
But Atlantic magazine in August published an article that indicated Pelosi will resign from her leadership role.
“Sometime in the not-so-distant future, probably after next year’s midterm elections, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will announce that she’s stepping down” the publication reported.
If Pelosi does not run, her daughter has been rumored to have interest in Pelosi’s San Francisco House seat. Of course, the daughter would not be the speaker of the House upon winning, yet it would presumably make sense for Pelosi’s daughter to run, having her mother’s campaign funds at the ready and name ID.
Pelosi’s daughter could also presumably function as her mother’s lasting voice in Congress.
There are also congressional considerations if Pelosi shrinks from seeking the top Democrat House leadership position in 2022. Many House Democrats have been looking for an opportunity to claim the leadership position for themselves.
After the 2020 election, Pelosi narrowly won the speakership over objection from the radical left and less radical members of her party. Five Democrats opposed Pelosi’s speakership but she still won with 216 votes. Pelosi was the “sixth speaker in history to win with fewer than 218 votes” in 2020, Politico estimated.
Several Democrat House members told CNN they are interested in Pelosi’s decision but have not outright stated they would charge forward for the leadership position without Pelosi’s retirement announcement in hand.
Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) is one who did challenge Pelosi in 2020. “She’s previously said that this would be her last term as speaker so I suspect that she would stick to that,” Spanberger said. “But since 2018, I think I’ve been consistent on the fact that I think we really need new voices spreading the word.”
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) also appears hungry for power. He told CNN he would not comment on the power vacuum. “I’ll let the drama, in terms of internal House dynamics, exist over on the Republican side of the aisle,” Jeffries said.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who opposed Pelosi winning the speakership in 2020, told CNN she is not satisfied with Pelosi’s leadership.
“I feel like just the history of the party overall has been to almost sideline progressive priorities, racial justice priorities, priorities for the working class, health care, et cetera,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And I don’t think that any selection of leadership should ever be a de facto thing.”
“A lot of it depends on the unique constellation of the caucus, at a given moment.” Ocasio-Cortez continued about whether she would support the speaker. “So it’s not just about an individual person,” she continued. “It’s about: Who is our caucus? What is the moment? And what is the alignment at that time.”
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