Washington: The Democrats have voted overwhelmingly to nominate Representative Nancy Pelosi as the next House Speaker, underlining her strength within the caucus as she strides toward a tougher public contest in January 2019.
The tally in the secret-ballot vote on Wednesday was 203-32, with three lawmakers leaving the ballot blank, The Hill magazine reported.
The 32 votes against Pelosi, the current House Minority leader, would be enough to prevent her from winning the Speaker’s gavel in a January 3, 2019 floor vote which requires support from a majority of the full House.
With Republicans opposed to Pelosi, she could only afford to lose 17 Democratic votes and reach the required 218 votes.
While Pelosi was running uncontested on Wednesday, it was notable that the votes cast against her were well below the 63 votes won by Representative Tim Ryan in his 2016 challenge to the longtime Democratic leader.
In remarks after her victory, Pelosi largely dismissed opposition to her rule, saying “we’re in pretty good shape” for the January vote, The Hill said.
She focused her attention on the fact that Democrats will once again be in power in the House in January and she pledged to unify a caucus that includes progressives and more centrist lawmakers who won swing districts in the November midterm elections, saying “unity is our power, and we will use that power again in a unifying way for our country”.
Wednesday vote comes after 16 Democrats signed an anti-Pelosi letter last week calling for new leadership, though one memberlater reversed himself after getting an accommodation from Pelosi.