Pelosi Running for Minority Leader
Updated: 1:38 p.m.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in a tweet Friday that she would run for Minority Leader in the 112th Congress, dismissing calls from some Democrats who say it’s time for her to step aside.
The California Democrat’s decision ends three days of uncertainty about who would lead House Democrats after the 60-plus-seat drubbing they suffered in Tuesday’s midterms. Pelosi said she was using the time to poll her Caucus on what to do next; she has served as Speaker since 2007.
Pelosi also informed her colleagues of the decision in a Caucus-wide letter.
“Our work is far from finished. As a result of Tuesday’s election, the role of Democrats in the 112th Congress will change, but our commitment to serving the American people will not,” Pelosi wrote, according to an excerpt of the letter released by her office. “We have no intention of allowing our great achievements to be rolled back. It is my hope that we can work in a bipartisan way to create jobs and strengthen the middle class.”
It is unclear whether Pelosi will face a challenge. Rep. Heath Shuler (N.C.) told Roll Call this week that he would run against her if she sought the Democratic leader post. And on Friday, at least two Democrats — Reps. Dan Boren (Okla.) and Albio Sires (N.J.) — said they don’t want Pelosi at the helm next year.
Pelosi said she had heard from many House Democrats who “have called with their recommendations on how to continue our fight for the middle class, and have encouraged me to run for House Democratic Leader.”
“Based on those discussions, and driven by the urgency of protecting health care reform, Wall Street reform, and Social Security and Medicare, I have decided to run,” she said.
Immediately after Pelosi announced her plans, current Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.) and Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) announced bids to seek their same jobs in the minority. Larson wrote his colleagues a letter of his intentions, saying: “Putting members first and their ideas forward will continue to be my focus. Your ideas, your voices and your work are needed even more so. To those ends, I ask for your support to continue to chair the Democratic Caucus, and stand our ground for working Americans and together recapture the people’s House.”
In announcing his plans, Clyburn said in a statement: “Most of you know my record, and all of you have my promise that I will listen to each and every Member and work harder than anyone to achieve our goals. By working together, respecting each other, and celebrating our diversity, we will come back a stronger and more resilient majority. I hope that I can count on your support for Democratic Whip, and I look forward to working with you in the 112th Congress.”
Questions now abound over what role Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) will play. There is one fewer job in the minority leadership lineup.