“If Nancy can do anything, it is that she knows how to count,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Democrat from Virginia. “She is very aware of the fact that with a slim majority — with some members who voted against her two years ago — there is gonna have to be an effort to persuade them that that was then and this is now. We cannot afford to have uncertainty about the speakership.”
Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin and Maine Rep. Jared Golden have already said they do not plan on voting for her. And a handful of moderate and progressive Democrats, including Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger and Reps.-elect Cori Bush of Missouri and Jamaal Bowman of New York, have declined to say how they would vote.
But Pelosi and her allies are projecting confidence that she’ll win reelection.
“I am enormously grateful for the trust that Members have placed in me,” wrote Pelosi in a letter to her Democratic colleagues on Sunday. “I am confident that the Speaker’s election today will show a united Democratic Caucus ready to meet the challenges ahead, and that we are prepared to set our country on a new course, starting with the Electoral College meeting on Wednesday.”
House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries of New York said on “Fox News Sunday” that Pelosi “will be the next speaker of the United States House of Representatives,” noting that that there is “incredible enthusiasm” for the California Democrat to keep her post as she’s been a “historic, legendary legislative leader through incredibly turbulent times.” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer chuckled when House Majority Whip James Clyburn was asked on MSNBC on Sunday if he thought Pelosi would be reelected as Speaker.
Pelosi told her members on a private call earlier this week that her only enemy in the fight for speaker was Covid, according to multiple sources familiar with it, because the virus could affect the number of members who could come to Washington and vote. While members could vote while sick, the optics would be terrible.
“She is one of the few, clear leaders who can provide cohesion and leadership for the Democratic majority,” said Connolly. “I think she goes into this in a strong position, but clearly cognizant of challenges she faces in terms of numbers and the uncertainty of coronavirus.”
This story has been updated with additional developments Sunday.