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Pelosi to Seek Reelection Despite Risk of Losing House Majority

January 26, 2022 by Dan McCue
Pelosi to Seek Reelection Despite Risk of Losing House Majority
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during her weekly press conference, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, at the Capitol in Washington. (Rod Lamkey/Pool via AP)

WASHINGTON — After weeks of writing farewells for House Democrats who’ve decided to forego bids for reelection, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that she has no plans of joining them in retirement.

“While we have made progress, much more needs to be done to improve people’s lives,” the speaker said in a video posted on Twitter.

“This election is crucial: nothing less is at stake than our Democracy,” she said.

Pelosi’s announcement quelled months of speculation that she would retire and step off the political stage as the Democrats prepare for an anticipated drubbing in the midterms.

Her decision to remain in the chamber follows announcements by 29 House Democrats that they won’t seek reelection this year, compared to 13 Republicans, as the GOP looks toward taking back the House. 

As the website https://fivethirtyeight.com/ has noted, it’s one of the “most ironclad rules in American politics” that the president’s party loses ground in the midterms.

According to its review of election returns, in the 19 midterm elections between 1946 and 2018, the president’s party has improved upon its share of the House popular vote just once. And since 1994, the president’s party has lost the national House popular vote in six out of seven midterm elections — usually by similar margins of between 6 to 9 percentage points.

But as the fivethirtyeight.com authors, Geoffrey Skelley and Nathaniel Rakich, wrote earlier this year, there are always exceptions to rules — most notably brought on by unexpected events.

For instance, the GOP gained ground in the House in the 2002 midterms when George W. Bush was the Republican in the White House, due to the election’s proximity to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the president’s elevated popularity numbers in its aftermath.

In her announcement, Pelosi suggested the United States is in no less a state of peril today.

“Our democracy is at risk because of the assault on the truth, assault on the U.S. Capitol and the state-by-state assault on voting rights,” she said.

In addition to sending the message that there are fundamental things still to fight for, and that no election is lost until it’s over, Pelosi also avoided becoming a lame duck before her current term as speaker is through.

Pelosi has served in Congress since 1987 and she’s led the House Democrats since 2003, when she became the first woman to lead a political party in Congress. In 2007, she made history again when she became the first woman ever to be speaker of the House, a job she reclaimed in 2019.

She enters the 2022 contest as the overwhelming favorite in her heavily Democratic district, a district in which she won with 78% of the vote in 2020.

Pelosi has remained mostly mum on the subject of whether she’ll seek the speakership if she wins her race and the Democrats still control the House.

In a recent interview with the Associated Press, she was willing only to say she “may” seek reelection to the post.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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