Perlmutter, other House Dems push for rule change in hopes of ousting Nancy Pelosi as leader
Authors: Washington Examiner, Colorado Politics - September 20, 2018 - Updated: October 8, 2018
by Naomi Lim/Washington Examiner and Colorado Politics staff
Colorado’s U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter is among a group of 11 House Democrats trying to change how the caucus chooses its leader in an effort to oust House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Democrats opposed to Pelosi want to introduce an amendment so that if Democrats win the House in November, a candidate hoping to become speaker requires the support of 218 members in the party caucus, equal to a majority of the entire House.
If Democrats do not flip the chamber, the caucus’ leader will be the person who secures a plurality of votes from the group.
Currently, the backing of the majority of the Democratic caucus is needed to be the party’s leader in the House before they are put forward as a candidate for the speakership. The leader of the party with a House majority always becomes speaker.
The changes, proposed in a Sept. 13 letter to House Democratic caucus chair Joe Crowley and House Democratic caucus vice chair Linda Sanchez, was signed by 11 anti-Pelosi Democrats, including Perlmutter, D-Arvada.
The letter was first reported by CBS News late Wednesday.
Perlmutter in late 2016 backed U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio against Pelosi as Democratic leader. This time around, the New York Times reports that Perlmutter is among a group of “old-guard lawmakers” who “have been holding meetings and carrying on text-message conversations about spurring change after the midterms, according to several participants in the conversations.”
And NBC News, in a recent Pelosi scorecard, lists both Perlmutter and 6th Congressional District candidate Jason Crow as opposing Pelosi for speaker should Democrats capture the House.
Perlmutter “does not support Pelosi for speaker and has been vocal about it since 2016,” a spokesperson tells the network.
Other Democratic Congress members who signed the letter, CBS reports, are Rep. Kathleen Rice (New York), Rep. Brian Higgins (New York), Rep. Seth Moulton (Massachusetts), Rep. Robin Kelly (Illinois), Rep. Bill Foster (Illinois), Rep. Filemon Vela (Texas), Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio), Rep. Marcia Fudge (Ohio), Rep. Albio Sires (New Jersey) and Rep. Kurt Schrader (Oregon).
Perlmutter’s signature is the first on the letter, which makes no mention of Pelosi.
The suggested rule change is set to be discussed next week at a House Democratic weekly strategy meeting, an aide told CBS. Other staffers said the amendment is unlikely to pass.
Pelosi has become a divisive figure in electoral politics as Republicans use her in advertisements designed to drive their voters to the polls. But she is also disliked by members of her own party for not being more liberal, forcing some congressional candidates to distance themselves from her on the campaign trail.
Pelosi told CNN last week that she feels “very comfortable” she has enough support to become speaker if Democrats seize control after the 2018 midterm elections.
While opposition to Pelosi’s leadership has been building, she remains a powerful campaign fundraiser for Democrats.
CNN reports that through June, Pelosi raised $83 million for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2018 election cycle, more than double the No. 2 Democratic fundraiser.
Other Colorado Democrats — those in office and those hoping to be — aren’t saying yet whether they’re for or against Pelosi.
“We have not discussed the topic. She is very focused on getting Democrats elected first and foremost,” Shawn Morris, spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, told Colorado Politics’ Ernest Luning. (The Denver Democrat is also seeking support from colleagues for a potential bid to be chosen as House whip, the party’s No. 3 leadership post, the National Journal reports.)
Joe Neguse, the Democrat seeking to succeed Jared Polis as 2nd Congressional District representative, hasn’t taken a position yet on Pelosi, staffers say. And NBC quotes 3rd Congressional District candidate Diane Mitsch Bush as saying: “I will give careful thought to all of my Democratic colleagues” as a future House leader.