Two Staffers Abandon Nancy Pelosi in One Week, Increasing Retirement Rumors

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (C), D-CA, speaks during a news conference with Democratic leaders after the passage of the Build Back Better Act at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on November 19, 2021. - US lawmakers voted to elevate President Joe Biden's giant social welfare bill to …
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Two staffers have abandoned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in just one week, a pattern that indicates Pelosi may retire after the 2022 midterms.

Amid months of Pelosi retirement rumors from CNN, aides, and Atlantic magazine, Pelosi’s Press Assistant, Riley Lopez, announced Wednesday he is moving on to a less relevant position in the Senate.

Lopez’s departure comes days after Robyn Patterson, Pelosi’s former deputy communications director, left her office for the Commerce Department.

The departures were noticed by Mike Berg, National Republican Congressional Committee’s deputy communications director, who suggested the Speaker of the House is under “retirement watch”: 

Though Pelosi has not officially announced she will retire or campaign for reelection, CNN reported in November she may make good on her promise and opt to vacate her seat. Democrats are unlikely to retain the House majority after the midterm elections.

“On Capitol Hill, the Speaker’s future is an issue that her top lieutenants are wary of discussing — even privately — worried that any hint of jockeying to replace her will create tension in the ranks,” CNN reported.

Atlantic magazine also published an article in August indicating 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 wrote.

Breitbart News reported in November about Democrat House members who may want to replace Pelosi as Speaker but have remained on the sidelines until Pelosi makes a decision either way:

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.”

If Pelosi does not run for reelection, her daughter is rumored have interest in Pelosi’s seat.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø

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