House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has defended her congressional seat, defeating a challenge from fellow Democrat Shahid Buttar on Tuesday night.
The Californian Democrat is projected to win reelection to secure her 18th term in Congress. She has been serving as the representative in Congress for 33 years.
Buttar, a lawyer and activist, presented himself as a progressive Democrat challenging the political establishment. In a statement, he said his values aligned with the so-called “squad,” a progressive group in the Democratic party made up of four congresswomen who were elected in 2018 and have made headlines going up against President Donald Trump. He is also a Black Lives Matter, Occupy, anti-war, and immigrants’ rights activist.
He has previously criticized Pelosi for being insufficiently progressive to represent her progressive district, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Pelosi has refused to debate Buttar and instead had focused her efforts on keeping the Democratic majority in the House.
The House speaker declared on late Tuesday night in a press conference, as votes were being counted, that Democrats had “held the House.”
“I am very very proud of the fact that tonight, relatively early, to say that we have held the House,” Pelosi said.
She said that the key issue in the 2020 congressional race was about American healthcare.
“It was about vote your health,” Pelosi said. “Our purpose in this race was to win so that we could protect the Affordable Care Act and so we could crush the virus,” referring to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.
Democrats had made the Affordable Care Act (ACA) a main issue in the election as well as then-Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee in October. Democrats have been defending lawsuits challenging the ACA and have criticized President Donald Trump and Republicans for their efforts to repeal the law.
A pending legal challenge to the law will be heard at the Supreme Court on Nov. 10.
Pelosi, who is the first female speaker, vowed to run for the position again if the House retains the majority.
Her pledge to run for speaker again comes as she has not spoken to President Donald Trump in more than a year, highlighting the gridlocked nature of Congress in recent years. The last time she spoke with the president was on Oct. 19, 2019, in the midst of the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Trump.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.