Sixteen Democrats have signed a letter released Monday saying they will vote against Nancy Pelosi for speaker, which is more votes than the California Democrat can afford to lose in a floor vote if all House members participate.
However, two of the signees — Ben McAdams of Utah and Anthony Brindisi of New York — are in races that have yet to be called.
Counting only those races that have been called, there will be 232 Democrats next year, meaning Pelosi can only lose 14 of them in a floor vote for speaker and get to 218. That’s the number she’ll need to be elected speaker unless some members don’t vote or vote “present,” thus lowering the majority threshold.
Pelosi’s opponents spent all last week talking about the letter, saying confidently that they had enough commitments to ensure Pelosi would not be elected speaker on the floor.
However, they had expected to get at least 20 signatures on the letter, so the release with only 16 suggests their opposition movement may be weakening.
During a news conference Thursday, Pelosi said if the speaker vote were held that day she’d have the support needed to win the gavel. But she contradicted her own claim as she acknowledged that at that time, the letter had 17 signatures.