Pelosi Eyeing Bid for Minority Leader, But Blue Dogs Bare Fangs
November 5, 2010
(ChattahBox Political News)—After losing the majority of the House from a tidal wave of Republican victories on Tuesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has had time to reflect and regroup. And it appears, as though the first female speaker of the House is not ready to give up just yet. Yesterday, Pelosi started testing the waters for a run at minority leader. Good. If anyone can keep that caucus together, she can. But already, the Blue Dogs, many of whom ran against her during their reelection campaigns, are starting to bare their fangs, signaling they would oppose Pelosi if she sought House leadership. But their fangs are not as sharp as they once were. The Blue Dog coalition lost about half of its members, significantly reducing their clout. The smaller Democratic caucus is decidedly more progressive and more apt to support Pelosi’s leadership bid.
ABC News reports that Pelosi has received encouraging support from House members, after phoning former and current members yesterday.
“Pelosi is methodically calling every Democratic House member who won on Tuesday, as well as many who lost, sources tell ABC News. In the process, she is weighing her options and gauging her support.”
“Some of Pelosi’s closest allies are encouraging her to stay and to lead the Democratic effort to win back their majority. Those encouraging her are arguing, in part, that she can unify the progressives in the caucus, and more importantly, that nobody in the House can raise money for the next campaign better than Pelosi.”
But two Blue Dogs, namely Reps. Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) and Jim Matheson (D-UT) are withholding their support. Matheson told The Politico the House Democrats need “to shake things up.” “We just got whupped,” said Matheson.
And Shuler vowed to run against Pelosi, if she decided to make a play for minority leader. He believes he has a better shot at recruiting moderate Democrats to retake the lost seats in 2012.
But Pelosi’s ability to raise money is legion, and that will be key to fighting against special interest money in the next election cycle.
Pelosi told the Huffington Post she received positive feedback from her colleagues, but she still has not made a final decision.
“I’ve gotten a positive response, but I haven’t gone to a place where I’ve made a decision about that,” she said. “Only today have I even looked at messages or anything that relate to me from … members, friends, progressives … And of course the ones you will hear from are the ones who want you to run. … But I’ll be very honest with you, it hasn’t been something I’ve — maybe tonight when I get home and after everybody goes to sleep and start reading the memos and calling people if it’s not too late — or at least I can call the West Coast, then I’ll have more of an appraisal of it. But that’s a subject for what comes next.”
With the lame-duck session to convene on Nov. 15, Pelosi would have to make a decision soon.
Photo Source: White House Flickr