Top Democrats in the House believe Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) will likely be ousted from leadership in favor of a younger and more inclusive lawmaker should Democrats reclaim the lower chamber in 2018.
House Democrats eager to see Pelosi replaced were heartened by Conor Lamb’s special election win in Pennsylvania, and see his disavowal of the minority leader as a blue print for a new wave of Democratic hopefuls running in traditionally red districts, according to Axios.
Rep. Joe Crowley (D., N.Y.) is reportedly seen as a prime candidate to succeed Pelosi due to his ability to work with both the older Democratic establishment and their younger, generally more progressive, counterparts.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D.,Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, is also considered a potential successor, given the notoriety he’s gained from his work on the Russia investigation.
While certain rank and file Democrats in the House have long advocated for fresh faces in leadership, Lamb’s victory over Republican Rick Saccone — in a district President Donald Trump won by 20 points — has bolstered their argument against Pelosi’s continued tenure. The 33-year-old political novice directly disavowed the minority leader on numerous occasions and explicitly said he would not vote for her to retain the gavel.
“If we’re going to take the majority, it’s going to be because we win districts like that,” Rep. Filemon Vela (D., Texas), a consummate critic of leadership, told Politico. “Running against Nancy Pelosi is going to help you a lot more than running with her.”
“I think everyone’s watching what Conor Lamb’s doing, and I hope they’re taking notes,” said Rep. Seth Moulton (D., Mass.).
Pelosi, who remains the Democrats’ most successful fundraiser, has reportedly changed her tact in response to rumblings about her replacement.
“She used to be retributional. Now she’s more inclusive,” one Democratic source told Axios.