Pelosi Will Have a Hard Time Becoming Speaker Again: GOP Leader

November 5, 2020 Updated: November 5, 2020

GOP lawmakers asserted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will have an increasingly difficult path toward becoming House speaker again, although her office disputed the claim this week.

After Election Day, Democrats have a far slimmer majority than after the 2018 midterm elections. Some Republicans believe Pelosi may not be able to recapture her speaker position.

“I mean Nancy Pelosi doesn’t even have a majority where she can be elected speaker again,” Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told reporters on Wednesday. “Whoever would have guessed that it’d be possible that Nancy Pelosi might not be the speaker?”

Democrats in the House had forecast they would expand their majority in the lower chamber. However, they lost in several areas such as Florida, Oklahoma, and Minnesota.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also suggested Pelosi could be in trouble.

“I know the vote on the floor is difficult for speaker. I know there was a number of people who did not vote for her last time,” McCarthy said Wednesday, referring to Democratic defectors several years ago. “And as our numbers continue to grow, I think at the end of the day, no matter where we end up, we’ll be able to have a very big say, or even run the floor when it comes to policy.”

Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy
(L) Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in a file photo. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images); (R) House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy in a file photo. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In the age of President Donald Trump’s administration, Pelosi was able to become a congressional bulwark and an outsized critic of the president. However, if Joe Biden wins she may have to retool her strategy due to a loss in seats.

In 2019, there were 15 House Democrats who did not back Pelosi, although the Democrats had a much larger majority in the House. It’s not clear how many seats Democrats have lost as votes are still being counted in several states.

On Wednesday, Pelosi told reporters that she expects Biden to win the presidency after all the votes are counted, saying she is ready to work with Biden on health care, environmental measures, and more.

Pelosi, in a letter to Democrats, did not talk about the slimmer majority. However, she noted that it “was a challenging election.”

She added: “House Majority, working in partnership with the Democratic White House, will now have the opportunity to deliver extraordinary progress.”

“Together, we will continue to deliver on our successful For The People agenda: lower health care costs, bigger paychecks by building green infrastructure, and cleaner government,” Pelosi added.

Biden has not yet been declared president by any news outlet or organization. Legal challenges in several states by the Trump campaign are still pending.

Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s chief spokesman, dismissed reports about a possible shakeup in the House’s leadership.

“Today is not about the race for Speaker,” Hammill told The Hill. “Today is about the race for the White House and ensuring that our members and candidates in uncalled races have the support they need. That is our focus.”