Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch signed a letter earlier this month opposing Nancy Pelosi’s bid for speaker when Democrats take back the majority in January — but he has since left the door open to voting for her if no Democrat steps up to bat and challenges to the minority leader.
The Massachusetts lawmaker was one of 16 current and incoming Democrats who signed the letter attempting to block Pelosi from the speaker’s gavel.
So far, no candidate has stepped forward to challenge Pelosi or her deputies.
Lynch said he still prefers new leadership to emerge in the Democratic caucus, whose presumed top three leaders — Pelosi as speaker and Reps. Steny Hoyer and James Clyburn as majority leader and majority whip, respectively — will have a combined average age of 78.
Lynch admitted that Pelosi would be an effective tactical leader for the Democrats as they attempt to curtail an administration that the party thinks has run afoul of ethical norms and, in some cases, laws in the absence of oversight from the current GOP majority.
But Pelosi is a maligned progressive figurehead among independent and conservative voters who could galvanize the GOP base in 2020.
“We risk losing the majority in the House, and we risk having Trump elected for another four years if the Democrats don’t offer a new direction for the Democratic party,” Lynch said.
“I’d like to see the party move a little more to the center, if we could, to make sure that we capture those people who have been traditionally with the Democratic party that left us and voted for Republicans in the past and put Trump into office,” Lynch said. “We’ve got to make sure we recapture those people in Ohio and Michigan and Illinois.”
Pelosi’s office could not immediately be reached to comment for this story.
Lynch, a former steel worker and union rep, believes there is a real rift among the Democratic-leaning voter base between blue collar workers and independents on one side and “the sort of elitist version of the Democratic party” on the other.
Pelosi and other Democratic leaders are too cozy with pharmaceutical companies and Wall Street, Lynch claimed, citing the dozens of millions of dollars raised by Democratic leadership PACs in the 2018 midterm cycle from Wall Street executives and pharmaceutical companies.
“Her greatest strength is raising money. But, in my mind, that’s not always a good thing. That money comes at a price,” Lynch said.
“I just see her taking us ... in an elitist direction,” he said.
Watch: Pelosi Talks Midterm ‘Wave,’ Says She Has Votes for Speakership