House Democrats Announce Leadership Bids

Nancy Pelosi celebrates the results of the midterm elections at a Democratic election night party and rally in Washington, D.C., November 6, 2018. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Democrats wasted no time announcing their candidacies for leadership elections after retaking the House Tuesday night.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made clear that after leading her party into the majority for a second time, she intends to be the speaker of the House again.

“I’ve always had an opponent, so I feel pretty comfortable about it,” she told PBS of the possibility of a speakership challenge in the leadup to Democrats’ victory. “Not that any of us is indispensable, but I think I’m really the best person for the job.”

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer indicated he plans to seek election as majority leader, maintaining his spot as the second-ranking member in the caucus.

“I will certainly be running for majority leader,” the Maryland Democrat said.

Representative James Clyburn confirmed that he would seek to keep the third spot in the caucus hierarchy with a run for majority whip.

“I intend to write a letter to all my caucus members [Wednesday] informing them that I intend to be a candidate for whip,” he told reporters.

“I think you’ll see Nancy Pelosi remain No. 1, Steny No. 2, and hopefully I’ll remain No. 3,” Clyburn said.

The chairman of the DCCC, Representative Ben Ray Lujan, is looking at a run for assistant leader, the fourth-ranking leadership position, after leading his party to victory.

Murmurs from younger House members have made party brass’s road to retaining leadership positions more of a headache than it otherwise would be. Many newly elected members, including New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, distanced themselves from Pelosi or vowed not to vote for her for speaker during their campaigns.

But Pelosi has her defenders as well.

“Obviously you don’t fire the coach after you win the World Series,” said Representative Brad Sherman.

Even President Trump said he thinks Pelosi earned the title.

“In all fairness, Nancy Pelosi deserves to be chosen Speaker of the House by the Democrats,” the president wrote on Twitter. “If they give her a hard time, perhaps we will add some Republican votes. She has earned this great honor!”

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