WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to address her plans with colleagues on Thursday in the wake of Democrats narrowly losing control of the House to Republicans in the midterm elections.
Pelosi’s decision to either seek another term as the Democratic leader or to step aside has been widely anticipated. It would come after the party was able to halt an expected Republican wave in the House and the Senate but also in the aftermath of a brutal attack on her husband, Paul, late last month by an intruder in their San Francisco home.
“The Speaker plans to address her future plans tomorrow to her colleagues. Stay tuned,” Pelosi’s spokesman Drew Hammill tweeted late Wednesday.
Pelosi is expected to speak on the House floor, but no time was provided. The chamber opens at 10 am EST, before legislative business begins at noon. The speaker took home two versions of her speech overnight for review.
The speaker “has been overwhelmed by calls from colleagues, friends and supporters,” Hammill said, and noted that she had spent Wednesday evening monitoring election returns in the final states where ballots were still being counted.
The California Democrat, who rose to become the nation’s first woman to wield the speaker’s gavel, is a pivotal figure in US politics.
By announcing her decision, Pelosi could launch a domino effect in House Democratic leadership ahead of internal party elections next month as Democrats reorganize for their new role as the minority party in the new Congress.
Pelosi’s leadership team, with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Democratic Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, has long moved as a triumvirate. Hoyer and Clyburn are also making decisions about their futures.
All now in their 80s, the three House Democratic leaders have faced restless colleagues eager for them to step aside and allow a new generation to take charge.
Democrats Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts and Rep. Pete Aguilar of California have similarly moved as a trio at times, all working toward leadership roles themselves.
First elected to the House in 1987, Pelosi has long been ridiculed by Republicans as a San Francisco liberal while steadily rising as a skilled legislator and fundraising powerhouse. Her own Democratic colleagues have intermittently appreciated but also feared Pelosi’s powerful brand of leadership.