Pelosi Survives as Dem Leader

As was expected, Nancy Pelosi retained her post as Democratic House Leader yesterday by a vote of 150-43 over Blue Dog Heath Shuler. See a full Politico article and video of Shuler’s takeaways from the vote here.

Pelosi’s win as Democratic leader was expected, but the bumpy ride was perhaps the greatest challenge to her authority since she claimed the speaker’s gavel four years ago. Pelosi defeated conservative North Carolina Democrat Heath Shuler, who ran for minority leader saying, “We need to include others in leadership.”

Pelosi’s victory all but assures that the Democratic leadership team will remain intact despite a historic loss of at least 61 seats in the Nov. 2 election. Several moderate lawmakers in the anti-Pelosi camp used two days of private meetings to vent their frustrations, and in some cases blame Pelosi for the heavy Democratic losses. (See: Democrats in chaos over Nancy Pelosi’s power)

Separately, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who declined to challenge Pelosi for minority leader, was elected minority whip by acclamation on a quick voice vote.

"She is the face that defeated us in this last election," said Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.), who lost reelection on Nov. 2. “The truth is Nancy Pelosi’s season has passed, and she’s the face of the defeat two weeks ago at the polls.”

Three Democrats in the Shuler camp — Jim Matheson of Utah, Mike Ross of Arkansas and Larry Kissell of North Carolina — have already vowed to vote against Pelosi on the House floor in January.

Shuler was surprised he did as well as he did; the 43 votes represent more than 20 percent of the Democratic caucus.