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House Democrats nominate Pelosi for speaker in leadership elections

House Democrats back Pelosi for Speaker
House Democrats back Pelosi for Speaker 11:16

Washington — House Democrats met Wednesday to elect their leaders for the incoming Congress, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi easily winning her caucus' nomination for another term as speaker.

The speaker announced shortly after Election Day earlier this month that she would seek reelection as leader of the Democratic caucus. Pelosi, who is 80, promised in 2018 that she would not seek reelection as speaker in 2022, meaning that this could be her final term as the most powerful member of the House. Pelosi said on Wednesday she would "abide by" her previous statement saying she would accede with a scrapped plan to impose term limits on the position.

"I don't want to undermine any leverage I may have, but I made the statement," Pelosi told reporters.

Pelosi ran unopposed for her party's nomination for the speakership. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Representative Jim Clyburn, the No. 3 Democrat in the House, also retained their positions in Tuesday's vote. Congresswoman Katherine Clark was elected assistant speaker.

During the briefing, newly reelected Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries said that the party was unified behind their designated leaders.

"We are unified in our sense of purpose to go out to work closely with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to fight for the people," Jeffries said. Pelosi also insisted that there has been "a tremendous amount of unity" in her caucus.

Although Pelosi cruised to victory on Wednesday, she will lead a smaller majority next year. CBS News projects that Democrats will maintain the majority, but roughly a dozen House races remain uncalled, and the Democratic majority is likely to be the slimmest majority by either party in years. Several freshman Democrats lost reelection this year, raising questions in the caucus about what the party's message to voters should be going forward.

Pelosi's success in her likely final term as speaker is also dependent upon whether Democrats are able to gain the majority in the Senate. Two runoff elections in Georgia on January 5 will determine whether Democrats will gain control of the House, the Senate and the White House. If Republicans maintain control of the Senate, it would make it more difficult to implement President-elect Joe Biden's agenda.

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