Nearly 20 Democrats abandoned their party’s pick for speaker of the House, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a sign of their concerns about supporting the unpopular former speaker and of the difficulty she will have in marshaling her forces in legislative battles to come in the next two years.
Pelosi brushed off the 18 votes for other lawmakers on Wednesday afternoon — 11 of them for North Carolina’s Heath Shuler — in a brief exchange with POLITICO.
“We’re excited about the votes I got,” said the California Democrat, who handed over the speaker’s gavel to John Boehner of Ohio at a ceremony following the roll call vote.
Still, the anti-Pelosi tally dwarfed the number of protest votes cast against leaders of both parties in the recent past, which never break into double digits.
Pelosi’s allies also sought to downplay the importance of the anti-Pelosi votes.
“I think some people had to some venting,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who narrowly won re-election but called out Pelosi’s name when he was asked for his vote. “
In addition to Shuler’s 11 votes, two Democrats — Reps. Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.) and John Barrow (Ga.) — voted for Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.); Reps. Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa voted for each other; Rep. Ron Kind (Wis.) voted for Rep. Jim Cooper (Tenn.); Rep. Dan Lipinski (Ill.) voted for Marcy Kaptur (Ohio) and Kurt Schrader (Ore.) voted for Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland.
The first anti-Pelosi vote during the alphabetical roll call came from Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.). He rose to answer the call of his name and declared loudly and clearly “Heath Shuler!”
For those of you keeping track, 11 votes is one more than the ten touchdowns Shuler threw in his best year at the Redskins. I point that out only to taunt Oliver Willis.
I also love the Politico attempt to gin up some sort of controversy: “Still, the anti-Pelosi tally dwarfed the number of protest votes cast against leaders of both parties in the recent past, which never break into double digits.”
Yeah, they didn’t even crack 20. But, still!
So much fail.