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Pelosi Wins Dem Nomination in Major Step Toward Becoming Speaker

She'll still need a majority vote by the full House when members return January 3 for the new session

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was able to win her party’s nomination to become the next speaker on Wednesday despite the opposition mounting against her.

Democrats gained the chance to put one of their own in the speaker seat during the midterm elections November 5.

Republicans were able to hold onto their Senate majority while Democrats gained control of the House.

Pelosi has been the assumed next speaker given her past experience in the role and current position as minority leader.

Pelosi responded to the election results the day after by saying she hoped to find areas lawmakers can work on a bipartisan basis.

Infrastructure and criminal justice reform are two areas where that might actually happen. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has expressed similar hopes of bipartisanship as well.

Related: Pelosi Sees Wave of Endorsements Even as Opposition Ramps Up

The Democrats’ selection of her as their nominee with a simple majority is a major step toward eventually selecting a speaker. She will still need a majority vote by the full House when members return for the new session on January 3.

Pelosi will need 218 votes to win — which means she can only afford to lose 17 votes from her fellow Democrats.

She faces opposition from the more progressive wing of the party, who want to replace the old guard with fresh people and ideas. The Washington Post found in its tracker that 22 members of the incoming Democratic caucus plan to oppose her bid at nine percent.

Also, 20 percent of members have dodged questions on the matter.

House Democrats opposing her bid for speaker also released a letter detailing why they wanted someone else on November 19. Reps. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) were among the 16 names to sign onto the letter.

Pelosi has still been able to win over plenty of support given her long career as a party leader. She’s earned endorsements from fellow lawmakers, labor unions and veterans advocates.

She was also endorsed by 100 gay rights groups. Trump surprisingly decided to endorse her as well for speaker in a tweet on November 7.

Related: Senate Democrats Release Letter Opposing Nancy Pelosi as Speaker

Reps. Jimmy Panetta, Stanford Bishop, Anthony Brown, Salud Carbajal, Ted Lieu, Bill Pascrell, Bobby Scott and José E. Serrano all signed a dear colleague letter supporting her on November 19.

Pelosi received support from the bulk of national unions, such as the AFL-CIO, AFSCME and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Pelosi was even able to win over some opponents within her party in the weeks leading up to the vote.

Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) announced his endorsement of her after criticizing the minority leader for months and vowing to vote against her. Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) also announced she was backing her just days after considering a run against her.

For more on the 2018 midterms, check out this video:

meet the author

Connor D. Wolf covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at [email protected].