House Democrats voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to nominate Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to the Speakership in a 203-32 vote.
The outcome was no surprise despite an entrenched rebellion from insurgent lawmakers who want changes to Democratic leadership. Pelosi was running uncontested and enjoys widespread support within the liberal-heavy caucus she’s led since 2003.
The 32 votes against her were fewer than the 63 votes won in a 2016 contest for minority leader by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who ran against Pelosi at the time.
Still, Pelosi faces a tougher test the first week of January, when the full House meets to choose the Speaker in a public vote requiring a majority of the entire voting chamber.
Pelosi cannot afford 32 Democratic votes against her in that contest, though she has weeks to convince some of her opponents to either vote for her on the floor or vote “present” — reducing the total number of votes needed for victory.
Wednesday’s vote was conducted by private ballot in the Ways and Means Committee hearing room in the Longworth House Office Building. It was reflective of the unusual nature of this year’s leadership elections that there were written ballots at all.
Pelosi was running unchallenged for the Speaker nomination in the next Congress, and typically such races are decided by unanimous consent. This year, however, the clamor for casting a protest vote — particularly from incoming freshmen who had promised voters to oppose Pelosi — was loud enough that party leaders offered paper ballots with a simple “yes/no” option on the question of whether Pelosi should be Speaker. [The Hill]