WASHINGTON – Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday overcame divisions within her dispirited Democratic caucus to remain her party’s leader.
Pelosi won the minority leader’s job on a 150-43 secret ballot vote that laid bare deep divisions within her caucus over whether the San Francisco liberal was the right person to try to lead Democrats back to power in 2012.
Her selection came as members of both parties gathered this week in the House and Senate to choose leaders for the session of Congress beginning next year. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, as expected, was selected by Republicans as the next House speaker.
Pelosi’s was the only actively contested leadership election, and voting was limited to Democrats who will serve in the next Congress. But party members who lost their bids for re-election after Republicans ran attack ads linking them to Pelosi’s “liberal agenda” delivered rare public criticism of their leader.
“I don’t know how we go into these districts, like the one I represent, and recruit good, moderate Democratic candidates if you have the exact same leadership team that you had in place when we lost the majority,” said Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Fla.
Pelosi defeated Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., who was backed for minority leader by a number of Democrats from more conservative districts.