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Pelosi holds open option of another term as House Dem leader

With control of the House of Representatives still at stake, Speaker Nancy Pelosi remained on Sunday about her future plans, but said fellow congressmen are urging her to seek another term as Democratic leader after a strong showing in the midterm elections.

Pelosi, who appeared on Sunday news programs, said Democrats are “still alive” in their fight to win the chamber and she will make a decision on whether to run for House leadership in the next few weeks.

“People are campaigning and that’s a nice thing. And I’m not asking anyone for anything,” she said, referring to the Nov. 30 election for the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives. “My members are asking me to consider this. But again, let’s just get through the (midterm) elections.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. J.Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

“The stakes are high because we face a presidential election,” Pelosi said.

Over the weekend, Democrats seized control of the Senate after Senator Catherine Cortez Masto’s victory in Nevada. But a majority in the House of Representatives remains unsure as no party has yet secured the 218 seats needed to control the 435-member House. As of Sunday, Republicans had 211 seats compared to 204 for Democrats, with 20 races yet to be called by The Associated Press.

Some races may take days or even weeks to be called.

Pelosi, D-Calif., declined to predict whether her party will retain control of the House and said she was “disappointed” by four New York Democratic losses, including congressional campaign chairman Sean Patrick Maloney, which could ultimately make the difference.

“Even so, we believe we have a chance to win this,” she said. “Nobody expected us to be so close. Well, we expected that.”

On the GOP side, Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy is attempting to become Speaker of the House if his party prevails, but the disappointing performance in the midterm elections has caused turmoil among leaders and calls for a new direction. Former President Donald Trump’s implications for the 2022 races are also hotly debated as he prepares to announce another race.

Pelosi said Sunday she believes President Biden should run for a second term, citing his legislative accomplishments such as the bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the Inflation Reduction Act and the creation of millions of jobs under his oversight.

“He was a great president and has a great record,” she said.

Pelosi, 82, who has led the House Democrats since 2003 and is the first female speaker, had struck a deal with members of the House to serve two more terms as leader — or four years — after Democrats take control through the House of Representatives chamber in 2018. But she has yet to announce her plans, nor have her two top deputies, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Whip Jim Clyburn, DS.C. There was some pressure from younger House members to pass the torch to new leaders.

Pelosi’s decision also comes after her husband was attacked at the couple’s San Francisco home late last month, sustaining a fractured skull and other injuries.

The intruder, 42-year-old David DePape, asked, “Where’s Nancy?” before hitting Paul Pelosi with a hammer. She was in Washington at the time.

Pelosi said Sunday that her husband’s recovery “will be a long one, but he’s doing fine,” though the trauma of the attack was “added” by Republicans’ “ridiculous, disrespectful attitude.” Top Republicans, including Trump, had downplayed the attack and spread misinformation about it.

“It wasn’t just the attack. It was the Republican response to that that was a shame,” she said.

Pelosi said her decision on whether to run again for the House leadership will be “about family” but also “about my colleagues,” citing the need to move “in a very unified way” into a new Congress and going into the 2024 campaign season. She emphasized the opportunities that lie ahead for the Democrats.

“Who would have thought two months ago that this red wave would turn into a small trickle, if at all?” she said. “But we never believed it. We believed.”

“There are all sorts of ways to exert influence,” Pelosi added. “The speaker has incredible power, but I will always have influence.”

Pelosi spoke on CNN’s State of the Union and ABC’s This Week.


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