McCarthy: Pelosi Might Not Be Reelected as Speaker Due to Slimmer Majority

November 8, 2020 Updated: November 8, 2020

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) might not be reelected to that leadership position because of a smaller Democratic majority.

Republicans took eight seats—flipping seven previously held Democratic seats and one held by an independent—in the election.

“To become speaker, you have to have 218 votes on the floor,” he told Fox News on Nov. 8. “When she went up for that vote two years ago, there were 15 Democrats who voted against her.”

“Ten of those Democrats will be coming back to Congress. If those 10 vote against her again, she will not be speaker of the House … because of the gains of the Republicans.”

McCarthy suggested that with only a few Democrats joining his minority, House Republicans can control the floor.

Pelosi indicated in a Nov. 5 letter (pdf) to her caucus that she would again attempt to run for speaker of the House.

“Our vision for the next two years must be built on the success of the Democratic House Majority in the 116th Congress, and to harness the extraordinary visions, values, and vibrancy of our Caucus to secure the progress that the American people deserve,” Pelosi wrote to her members.

The longtime congresswoman from California then declared that she would run for speaker.

“I am writing to request your support to be re-elected as Speaker,” Pelosi remarked. “I do so with utmost respect for the diverse viewpoints in our Democratic Caucus, the gravity of this role, and the urgency of the challenges ahead. I also do so with the great joy and appreciation to so many of you who have already offered your support.”

It’s also likely that Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) will try to keep his role as House majority leader and Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) is likely to attempt to keep his role as the No. 3 Democrat in the House as majority whip.

Following last week’s election, Pelosi demurred when asked about whether any Democrats would attempt to challenge her.

“That’s the least important question you could ask today,” Pelosi told Politico. “The fate of our nation, the soul of our nation, is at stake in this election.”

With a smaller majority, Democrats in the House will have a smaller margin of error in passing legislation.

“I think that the Democratic party needs to clearly push that we are not supportive of ideas like socialism or defunding the police or anti-Semitism,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), a co-chair of the House’s centrist Blue Dog Coalition, according to The Associated Press.