On Sunday afternoon, shortly after being sworn-in, members of the House of Representatives elected Nancy Pelosi as the next Speaker by just 2 votes. As we entered the new year, and up until the vote today, it was still unclear whether or not there would be enough votes to re-elect Pelosi to the speakership. Rumors circulating the capital had a group of recently elected Progressive Congress members, withholding their vote for Nancy Pelosi unless she agreed to an up-and-down floor vote on Medicare for All. Congress members Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) of New York and Cori Bush (D-MO) of Missouri in a recent CNN interview refused to say how they would vote, sparking more intrigue among pundits as to what they would do.
Going into today, Congresswoman Pelosi needed to receive a simple majority of votes cast and accomplished this, but by just 2 votes. There were 428 voting members out of the 435 in the chamber, and Nancy Pelosi received 216-just one more than the required 215. To much surprise, it was not just the vote count that was of interest, but who received votes as well. Congress members Connor Lamb (D-PA) of Pennsylvania, Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) of Virginia, Jared Golden (D-ME) of Maine, Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) of Michigan, and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) of New Jersey all chose not to vote for Congresswoman Pelosi. Congressman Lamb opted for Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), while Congressman Golden chose progressive Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) of Illinois. This is of note, as they are all considered “Moderate Democrats”, representing swing districts. To vote against their party in choosing a leader was of great risk and it will be interesting to see how that decision affects them in the next election cycle.