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Pelosi fighting to return as House Speaker

CNN's Tom Foreman takes a look at the different scenarios and challenges Nancy Pelosi may be facing in the run-up to the vote for House Speaker.

Posted: Nov 20, 2018 7:55 AM
Updated: Nov 20, 2018 8:19 AM

A rebellious faction of House Democrats released a letter Monday vowing to mount a coup and derail Nancy Pelosi's bid to become House speaker, the first major warning shot from the group of detractors who are trying to stop the powerful leader's bid in the new Democratic majority.

Sixteen Democrats have signed the letter, a number that complicates the math for Pelosi to reclaim the title of speaker, a position she previously held from 2007 to 2011. Pelosi, who was making calls to members from San Francisco on Monday, continues to project confidence that she has the votes to be elected speaker and she is still running unchallenged, though Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio has said she is considering entering the race.

"As we head toward the 116th Congress and reclaim our Democratic majority, we believe more strongly than ever that the time has come for new leadership," the letter states.

Fudge was not among those signing the letter released Monday, but she is a longtime critic of Pelosi's. Eleven incumbent Democrats signed: Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee, Rep. Bill Foster of Illinois, Rep. Brian Higgins of New York, Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, Rep. Linda Sanchez of California, Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon and Rep. Filemon Vela of Texas.

Four incoming freshmen signed: Anthony Brindisi of New York, Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, Max Rose of New York and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey.

Ben McAdams of Utah, who ran against Republican Rep. Mia Love and whose race has not yet been projected by CNN, also signed.

In the new Congress, Democrats will hold at least 232 seats Republicans 200, with three undecided races -- two of which Republicans are leading and one in which the Democrat is ahead -- meaning the Democrats could hold 233 seats. To be elected speaker, a candidate needs a majority of members who vote for a specific person on the House floor, which amounts to 218 votes if no member skips the vote or votes "present."

With McAdams uncertain to get a seat, 15 Democrats who signed the letter are definitely going to be members next year.

But at least two additional Democrats are also vowing to vote against her on the floor. That includes Conor Lamb, the Democrat of Pennsylvania, who did not sign the anti-Pelosi letter. Still, he vows to vote against her in next week's caucus meeting and on the floor in January, according to his spokesman, Coleman Lamb.

Abigail Spanberger of Virginia told CNN on Friday she also would not sign "any letter" but said she would still vote against Pelosi on the floor.

"I've been very clear about my position and that remains the same," she said after meeting with Pelosi. "I will be voting, but I will not be voting for her."

It's possible other incoming freshmen who are Pelosi critics could be"no" votes -- especially ones like Democrat Jared Golden of Maine, who promised to vote against Pelosi during his hard-fought victory. A spokesman for Golden did not return a request for comment Monday.

What Fudge ultimately does is also unclear,and her office did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

While Pelosi is facing an increasingly perilous path, many Democrats believe she will ultimately win. That's because there's first a vote in the Democratic Caucus next week where a majority of House Democrats will nominate a candidate for speaker, a vote Pelosi will almost certainly win.

At that point, she will be the Democratic nominee for speaker, and most Democrats ultimately will fall in line with no other candidate formally chosen by their caucus. The critics' letter, also, gives some wiggle room by saying these members are "committed" to voting for new leadership on the floor, rather than outright saying they won't vote for Pelosi under any circumstance.

Some critics may ultimately cave.

As one senior Democratic aide put it, "If your strategy relies upon Nancy Pelosi giving up, you will lose every single time. Ninety-four percent of the caucus didn't sign the letter."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds238239
DeSoto148616
Madison126734
Jones110449
Neshoba98171
Lauderdale90079
Rankin88812
Forrest85142
Harrison84210
Scott76215
Copiah59216
Jackson58416
Leake57019
Holmes54441
Wayne53513
Lee53218
Oktibbeha53226
Washington5319
Warren49618
Yazoo4936
Leflore48049
Lowndes47212
Lincoln44334
Lamar4407
Grenada4325
Pike40712
Monroe38830
Lafayette3774
Attala35823
Sunflower3467
Newton3389
Covington3345
Panola3256
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Adams29318
Simpson2833
Pontotoc2736
Marion27011
Tate2709
Chickasaw26918
Claiborne25610
Jasper2566
Winston2546
Noxubee2538
Pearl River24832
Clay24710
Marshall2173
Smith21611
Clarke20524
Coahoma1916
Union1919
Walthall1804
Kemper17714
Lawrence1701
Yalobusha1677
Carroll16411
Itawamba1348
Humphreys1329
Calhoun1284
Tippah12811
Hancock12613
Webster12610
Montgomery1242
Tallahatchie1224
Jefferson Davis1094
Prentiss1023
Greene1018
Jefferson993
Tunica933
Wilkinson929
Amite892
George783
Tishomingo741
Quitman730
Choctaw724
Perry654
Alcorn631
Stone571
Franklin412
Sharkey340
Benton300
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4802152
Montgomery3947103
Mobile3904134
Tuscaloosa218842
Marshall168010
Lee130237
Madison12717
Shelby117623
Morgan10475
Walker90524
Franklin87814
Dallas8689
Elmore86414
Baldwin8289
Etowah70713
DeKalb6945
Butler62328
Chambers61227
Tallapoosa58369
Autauga56012
Russell5190
Unassigned50323
Lauderdale4736
Limestone4660
Lowndes46321
Houston4614
Cullman4354
Pike4175
Colbert3836
Coffee3702
Bullock3679
St. Clair3472
Barbour3452
Covington3437
Escambia3326
Calhoun3225
Hale30621
Marengo30011
Talladega3007
Wilcox2898
Sumter28412
Clarke2726
Dale2680
Jackson2632
Winston2463
Monroe2312
Chilton2282
Blount2261
Pickens2226
Marion21413
Randolph2019
Conecuh1977
Choctaw19512
Bibb1861
Greene1838
Macon1819
Perry1621
Henry1313
Crenshaw1253
Lawrence1050
Washington1047
Cherokee857
Geneva780
Lamar751
Fayette671
Clay622
Coosa581
Cleburne361
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