If, after what looks to be a Republican victory in the House of Representatives, you’ve been celebrating the toppling of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) from the head of the Democratic Party, you might want to put that champagne back on ice.
Given that the GOP delivered more of a ripple than a wave on Tuesday, Pelosi is, according to Democratic strategists, “in the driver’s seat” and she may just stay on as leader of the party.
It’s a blow to even the Democrats, who, according to Fox News, have been planning for “life after Pelosi.”
Speaking to Fox News Digital, Democratic strategist and former Biden 2020 surrogate Kevin Walling stated, “Speaker Pelosi is in the driver’s seat when it comes to her future and the future of the Democratic House Caucus given the incredible turn of events last night.”
At the time of this writing, the Fox News Decision Desk has yet to call the control of the House, though it is expected that Republicans will flip it, albeit by a smaller margin than what was expected.
With a stronger-than-expected showing, and given the recent attack on her husband, Paul Pelosi, it’s possible that the aging speaker may cling to what power she has left.
Pelosi speaks about husband’s attack as buzz begins about her daughter replacing her in Congress https://t.co/1nUYmt6vrJ
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) November 5, 2022
“Members of Congress, and especially members of Congress in the upper echelons, are almost a different breed of people. In that scenario, an attack on one’s spouse could steel your nerve and say, ‘You know what… I’m going to show them. I’m going to stick around,'” said R Street Institute senior fellow for governance, James Wallner.
And as acid-inducing as that analysis may be, Pelosi’s recent statements seem to bolster Wallner’s assessment.
In an election-night interview with PBS’s Judy Woodruff, Pelosi was asked if the assault on Paul “could have bearing on whether you decide to run again.”
While she didn’t confirm that it would, she didn’t say ‘no,’ either.
“What about if Democrats were in the majority,” Woodruff asked. “Would that affect your decision on whether to run?”
“I’m not predicating any action on Democrats not winning tonight,” she replied. “That is a conversation for another day. Let’s just get out the vote.”
It would mean bad news for Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) who, as American Wire has reported, has been eyeing Pelosi’s position.
Adam Schiff positions himself as possible post-midterm Pelosi replacement https://t.co/lExcPMh1nz
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) November 4, 2022
And he’s not alone.
The 62-year-old has joined Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) on the emerging list of contenders should Pelosi finally step aside, and Wallner seems to think his experience as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee will serve him well in the race.
“I think having experience certainly helps with [moderates],” he said. “But the nature of that experience being an impeachment manager probably helps with the [progressives].”
Having said that, Wallner still believes Pelosi could “easily” remain as minority leader.
“On a call with her members today she described the election results as a ‘remarkable achievement’ which I think is totally true given historic trends and national headwinds and a testament to Pelosi’s leadership and optimism,” he told Fox News Digital. “I could also see her seeking and easily securing another term as minority leader knowing just how precarious Kevin McCarthy’s majority will be and her ability to run legislative circles around him.”
But according to former President Clinton’s adviser Mark Penn, if the Dems lose control of the House, Nancy won’t want the demotion.
“If the Democrats win the House, Pelosi will stay on — she has shown grit and determination and seems to love her job,” he said. “If the Dems lose the House, as they are likely to do, I don’t think she would stay on in leadership as that would be a step down. She would then make a graceful exit and celebrate a successful term.”
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