House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has cleared a key hurdle in her quest to seize back the speaker's gavel, winning the support of the vast majority of her caucus in a closed-door vote Wednesday afternoon.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California has been chosen by her party to be speaker of the House come January.
Pelosi wrote her Democratic colleagues just before Thanksgiving, encouraging the caucus to stick to tradition and support the closed-door election victor on the floor. Are there dissenters? Yes.
The next and final step on the path to the speakership is a full vote of the entire House of Representatives in early January.
Typically "voice votes" for leadership positions are expected to yield a unanimous result, but this year, members were asked to circle "yes" or "no" beside Pelosi's name, indicating whether they approved of the nomination, ostensibly sparing Pelosi the embarrassment of a non-unanimous vote.
Those supporting Pelosi hope to avoid a floor fight over the leadership post when Congress begins work in January.
Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, was reportedly considering running for speaker against Pelosi but ultimately decided not to.
Although the Democrats are taking control of the House with at least 233 seats, some in the party have pledged that they will not back Ms Pelosi for speaker.
"These proposals will provide a more accommodating and respectful process that will help us in our mission to return to the principle that ideas matter in the House of Representatives", the pair said in a joint statement.
Despite initially having an uncertain future in the wake of an election brought forth by a surge of outsider, anti-establishment candidates, opposition to the longtime California Democrat has dwindled and some of the hardline anti-Pelosi Democrats have completely flipped their positions.
In addition, Rep. Karen Bass of California, entering her fifth term, was officially elected chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
But Pelosi has been deftly picking off opponents - including nine who announced their support Wednesday as voting was underway - a trend she'll need to accelerate in the weeks ahead.
A spokesman for Moulton said Pelosi has not reached out for a meeting with the congressman.
With Democrats expected to have 235 members, that means Pelosi could lose only 17 Democrats and still be elected speaker ― if every Republican votes against her and none of the Democrats now opposing her vote "present".
She and the Democratic leadership would have the power to block Republican legislation, hamstringing large parts of Trump's agenda ranging from proposed new tax cuts to construction of a wall on the border with Mexico.
But on Monday, Moulton, who declined a request for an interview through a spokesman, would not concede defeat. "Unfortunately, our concerns were dismissed outright", said Democrat Kathleen Rice of NY.
That came as Democrats, in secret balloting, choose Pelosi, 78, as their nominee for speaker.
Frustration with the Old Guard seems unlikely to dissipate even if Pelosi pulls off a return to House speaker.