In a somewhat surprising development, Democrats in the U.S. House on Tuesday morning decided to hold off on leadership elections that had been scheduled for this Thursday, a move that could give more time to those who would like to see something different from their party, possibly creating the chance for a challenge to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
The decision by Pelosi had not been expected, as she had set internal Democratic votes later this week on the party’s Congressional leadership team.
But a number of Democrats wanted to wait, worried that a quick vote would deprive them of a needed post-election review.
Asked by reporters if the move previewed any trouble for her re-election as Minority Leader, Pelosi said no.
Inside a closed door meeting, Pelosi reportedly showed no concern about any challenge – but a two week delay will certainly give others time to think about that.
Even before the move, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio had been talking about a possible challenge. It wasn’t clear whether he would move forward with that.
Pelosi has been the top Democrat since the 2002 elections. She was the first woman to be Speaker of the House, winning that post after the 2006 election, when Democrats won back control of both the House and Senate.
A week ago, many Democrats fully believed that they would be talking about big gains in the November elections; but Trump’s win held down those gains, leaving Democrats in the minority.
The scene was in stark contrast to a closed door meeting of Republicans not far away in the Capitol, as they emerged unified, and excited about the chance to push ahead with the agenda of President-Elect Donald Trump.