A group of Democrats in the House opposed the idea of longtime President Nancy Pelosi struggling to organize resistance and force overthrow of power before the party takes control in January.
According to aides and members accustomed to their conversations, they are particularly focused on a large group of incoming incoming Democratic students who have expressed their opposition to Pelosi (California) during the election campaign.
Some of these members said that they would not vote for Pelosi regardless of the circumstances, whether it's at an internal party vote this month or during the vote at the January room to choose a speaker. Others were more cautious, calling for new leadership but refraining from any support for Pelosi.
But everything is in the arithmetic: while Democrats are about to claim a majority of about 12 seats as votes continue to be counted on Thursday, these members – and their determination to demand new leaders – could be decisive.
Jason Crow, who beat Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo) on Tuesday and insists he will not vote for Pelosi, said he was puzzled that Democrats are waiting to what first year students are denying their campaign speeches.
"It's a reflection of the current expectations of elected officials and what's wrong with politics in BC – that people actually expect people to change positions after an election." , did he declare. "But that will not happen to us. We keep our word, we keep our promises and hope that people will find it refreshing. "
In an interview with CNN on Thursday, Pelosi expressed "total" confidence in his election to the presidency. "One hundred percent," she says.
In previous elections, Pelosi was able to rely on the subtleties of Capitol Hill's policy, which states that after an internal vote of a party, lawmakers give up their objections and vote for the choice of their colleagues. In 2016, for example, 63 Democrats opposed Pelosi in the in camera caucus, but only four did it in the House.
But this scenario might not happen this time. The anti-Pelosi faction, led by Democratic representatives Seth Moulton (Mass.), Kathleen Rice (NY), Tim Ryan (Ohio) and others, says that at least a dozen practicing Democrats would vote to oppose in Pelosi on the ground and that about as many freshmen could be persuaded to join them.
Pelosi's allies, however, doubt this and claim that only a handful of them will oppose it – especially without a declared alternative. While Republicans have spent tens of millions of dollars to highlight Pelosi in their offensive ads, they note that Democrats are on track to win a comfortable majority.
"The other side has thrown everything away from the kitchen sink and is still standing," said Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), The next likely chair of the Ways and Means Committee of the Bedroom. "And I think a lot of people have lost a lot of money by betting against it."
A dozen critics have explained how to avoid falling again at a Wednesday teleconference, according to familiar people. Among the topics discussed, there was talk of sending a letter publicly opposing her as a leader, said the population, but this notion was temporarily put aside because the size of the majority remains in mutation.
Instead, they are focusing on how best to help new members – who are due to arrive in Washington next week to begin their orientation process – and help them resist the expected attack from lobbying.
"In the end, they won tough races in difficult areas," Ryan said. "It's about building a sustainable majority in the long run, and it starts with protecting those members. . . . Being in the majority is a thousand times better, and we want it to stay that way. "
What they are going to face is the rest of the Democratic caucus, ranging from seasoned legislators who will soon hold committee meetings to junior MPs who have gained top positions through Pelosi, not to mention an invested lobbying infrastructure. in the maintenance of power. current leadership.
Pelosi will do his own thing. In a letter sent Wednesday to the Democratic legislators, she announced her intention to speak personally with each member.
"My vision for the next two years is to restore to the House the role that should be the independent and strong voice of the American people and to maximize the capacity and creativity of our entire caucus," he said. she said.
Its allies will also support the newcomers. Representative Adriano Espaillat (DN.Y.) issued a public statement supporting Pelosi on Thursday and said in an interview that Democrats could not afford to name a leader with a "curve of 39 "learning," sitting with President Trump and the Republican Congress. leaders. This, he said, should override the campaign rhetoric of the new students.
"Maybe they made these statements in different circumstances that are now very different" after the elections, he said. "I would ask them to take a second look – to be fair, open and flexible."
At the same time, on Thursday, the Democrats have maneuvered to position themselves in secret ballot elections, hoping to claim some of the power in the party's first majority in eight years.
The race for the presidency of the Democratic Caucus, closely monitored, was disrupted by the entrance of Representative Hakeem Jeffries (DN.Y.), a young congressman from Brooklyn wishing to climb the ranks of leaders, while Representative Linda T. Sánchez (D-Calif.) Dropped. after her husband was charged with federal corruption. Sánchez has not been involved in any wrongdoing, but said in a statement that she needed to focus on family issues.
Jeffries will face Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), A declared Liberal and Brother of the Congressional Black Caucus, in the party leadership contest set for the end of the month.
In another contested race, Representative Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) Challenges Representative James E. Clyburn (DS.C.), the current Democrat Leader, for the position of majority whip # 3. .
In an interview, DeGette said he was concerned about adopting legislation in what could be the narrowest democratic majority in decades.
"I have a lot of respect and affection for Jim, and I think it's a great moral compass for our caucus," she said. "It's really about who can do this very specialized and important job in an efficient way."
Clyburn was not available to comment, but an aide said that the Congressman previously held the position of Whip when Democrats were in the majority between 2007 and 2011.
"He never lost a single vote on a Democratic priority while the Democrats were in the majority," said the assistant, who was not allowed to comment publicly and who requested anonymity. "He knows how to whip."
Erica Werner contributed to this report.