Sixteen House Democrats vowed on Monday to oppose Nancy Pelosi's bid to become speaker, calling the California Democrat's confident prediction of her speakership into question, reports Politico.
In a controversial letter released on Monday, the Democrats opposing Pelosi called her a "historic figure," but noted that Democratic voters asked for "real change in Washington."
"Our majority came on the backs of candidates who said that they would support new leadership because voters in hard-won districts, and across the country, want to see real change in Washington. We promised to change the status quo, and we intend to deliver on that promise," the letter reads.
The show-of-force underscores the depth of the challenge facing Pelosi, who has led the caucus for 16 years.
Pelosi needs 218 votes among lawmakers present and voting to be elected speaker on Jan. 3. House Democrats have won 233 seats, meaning Pelosi can currently only afford to lose 15 votes.
The letter includes 12 incumbents, three incoming freshman and one candidate, Ben McAdams of Utah, whose race has not been called. -Politico
The letter does not include at least three additional Democratic lawmakers or incoming House members who have confirmed their intention to oppose Pelosi to Politico: Rep. Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania, Abigail Spanberger of Virginia and Jason Crow of Colorado.
The additional three would bring Pelosi's opposition to 19 members or members-elect - enough to keep her from becoming speaker should nothing change.
Pelosi has insisted for weeks that she will win the speaker vote and has no intention of withdrawing. That said, Monday's letter suggest Pelosi's "pressure campaign" (as Politico puts it) to gain the needed votes has fallen short so far, however her allies note that they still have over a month to persuade the "no" votes.
That said, it might not be as easy as she thinks:
Many of the letter’s signers have told POLITICO that nothing can buy them off — no plum committee posts or chairmanships, as have been used as a carrot for Pelosi critics in the past.
But Rep. Marcia Fudge, a Pelosi critic who is considering a bid for speaker as well, suggested to POLITICO in a Friday interview that Pelosi could possibly win her support should the Californian declare that she will only serve for one more term. Fudge had signed an earlier version of the letter but was not on the letter released Monday. -Politico
Pelosi's critics have been referred to as the "rebels" or "revolutionaries," and have the potential to "throw the entire party into chaos just as Democrats are trying to turn their fire on Donald Trump and pivot toward ousting the president in 2020."
Her opponents say she has hindered the party, however, and that she has put newly elected Democratic members in red or purple districts in political jeopardy if she forces incoming freshmen to vote for her.
Several Democratic candidates, for example, ran on a promise to oppose her or back “new leadership.” Pelosi has been meeting with these members and appears to be making gains with a group of them.
Rep. Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, for example, vowed during the campaign to oppose Pelosi, even running a commercial saying so. But Pelosi’s allies have been working on Sherrill, who no longer publicly reiterates those intentions. -Politico
Why wouldn't progressives want a 78-year-old longtime hand of the establishment steering the ship?