WASHINGTON — Nancy Pelosi won the House Democrats’ vote to lead their party in the House, and now needs to win a majority of the full House — 218 votes – to regain the House Speaker title she lost in 2011 when Republicans took control.
“Our diversity is our strength, but our unity is our power,” she said at a news conference.
Pelosi only needed a simple majority of the caucus so her selection – with no opposing candidate — in a closed-door meeting was assured
The vote of the whole House in January will require 218 votes. The final caucus leader vote Wednesday was 203 in favor of Pelosi, 32 against her, three blank and one absent – Rep. Sean Patrick Mahoney, who was hospitalized. If one uncalled House race goes to Democrats, they would have 235 votes in the house, meaning Pelosi could withstand 17 defections. In all 238 Democats voted because at-large delegates participated; they are not allowed to vote on the House floor.
At the end of her remarks to reporters, Pelosi focused on the results of the midterms, not her nomination. “We are in the majority,” she said. “Majority, majority, majority!”
Earlier in the day, Rep/ Hakeem Jeffries of New York edged out Rep. Barbara Lee of California to become the House Democratic Caucus chair. The vote was reported to be 123 – 113. Lee told reporters she was disappointed by the vote and said she believed that her age, 72, was a factor in the narrow loss. Jeffries is 48.
The newly chosen causes chair led the afternoon meeting where members voted for the remainder of leadership positions.
Those positions are — in order of seniority— majority leader, majority whip, assistant leader, caucus vice chair, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair, Democratic Policy and Communications Committee chair and three co-chairs, caucus representative for members serving five or fewer terms and freshman caucus representative.
Reps. Steny Hoyer of Maryland and James Clyburn of South Carolina, who were unopposed, the leader and whip jobs, respectively.
The four representatives running for DCCC chair were Cheri Bustos (Illinois), Denny Heck and Suzan DelBene (Washington) and Sean Patrick Maloney (New York).
Voting was expected to last into the evening hours.