Hoyer Has Faith Democrats Will Hold House With Pelosi at Helm

Posted October 19, 2010 at 2:37pm

Updated 4:25 p.m.

HOUSTON, Pa. — House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he is confident Democrats will retain the majority in November and that Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have the votes to continue to lead the House.

About a dozen moderate Democrats have recently either refused to commit to voting for Pelosi as Speaker or have not commented about the issue, prompting speculation that the California Democrat may not have the support to keep her position. Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) told a Wilmington, N.C., TV station Thursday that he heard that Pelosi probably won’t run for Speaker again and that he would not support her if she did.

Pelosi has given no indication that she would not seek another term as Speaker if Democrats hold on to the majority after the Nov. 2 general election. In response to McIntyre’s statement, Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami said Tuesday, “The Speaker’s focus is on Democrats winning the election and retaining the majority, which we will.”

“I think we are going to hold on to the majority and I think she’ll have enough votes,” Hoyer told Roll Call after a tour of Bucyrus International, a design and manufacturing company in the Pennsylvania district of Rep. Mark Critz.

The Maryland Democrat joined Critz on a tour of the manufacturing facility for mining equipment to promote how the Democratic “Make It in America” agenda will help create jobs. He is also on the campaign trail to help raise money for Critz.

After just five months in office, Critz is locked in a tough re-election match for the Keystone State’s 12th district against Republican Tim Burns. Critz defeated Burns in a special election in May after the death of longtime Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) in February.

Asked why the Democratic message on jobs and the economy does not seem to be resonating with voters, Hoyer said he wasn’t sure.

“I don’t know,” he said. “To some degree, the reason it doesn’t resonate is because employment is always a lagging indicator and has been very difficult to turn around. Even though we are gaining jobs in the private sector every month, we are not gaining enough to really turn it around.”

Hoyer stressed that the economy is recovering, and warned that Republican policies would only reverse the progress Democrats have made. “The Republicans are essentially saying they want to go back to the exact same agenda that lost those 8.7 million jobs,” he said, taking a jab at the House GOP’s “Pledge to America” agenda.

McIntyre, who is in a tight race against Republican Ilario Pantano as he seeks an eighth term, is the third endangered Democrat to say publicly that he would not vote for Pelosi. But McIntyre went a step further and predicted she would voluntarily step aside.

“From what I hear, she’s probably not going to run for Speaker again. And, if she does, I’m confident she’s going to have opposition, and I look forward to supporting that opposition,” McIntyre told WWAY-TV.

Like the two other defectors — Alabama’s Bobby Bright and Georgia’s Jim Marshall — McIntyre said he would prefer that someone more centrist lead House Democrats. All three are members of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition.

McIntyre is among the vulnerable Democrats that Republicans have been working to tie to Pelosi. Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group, released an ad Friday blasting the “McIntyre-Pelosi agenda” and showing side-by-side photos of the two Democrats. An earlier National Republican Congressional Committee ad also tied McIntyre to the Speaker, mentioning Pelosi three times.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure arm has spent $78,000 defending McIntyre’s seat, far less than the $313,000 that the NRCC has poured into the race.

Kathleen Hunter and Anna Palmer contributed to this report.