KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Democratic Rep.-elect Sharice Davids plans to cast one of her first votes for Nancy Pelosi as House speaker, saying Kansans didn’t elect her to go to Washington “to play political games and take symbolic protest votes.”
The newly elected Democrat from Kansas also said that she plans to vote for “several younger and newer members” for other leadership roles in the Democratic caucus.
Davids, who defeated GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder for the suburban Kansas City seat, never pledged during her campaign to vote against Pelosi but had also said when she was running that she wanted new leadership across the board.
During a campaign debate, Yoder repeatedly suggested that Davids would support Pelosi for House speaker should Democrats recapture the House majority. Davids ducked the question at the debate, saying she couldn’t say who she would support.
But in an announcement posted Saturday on her campaign website, Davids said no one else has stood up to challenge Pelosi.
“The best way to move forward as we face unprecedented threats to our health care access and to our democracy is to unite behind the person who is clearly going to become the next speaker, and who, whatever differences we may have, will stand up to those threats,” she wrote.
House Democrats plan to meet in private this week for a vote nominating Pelosi to become speaker in January. She held that post from 2007 to 2011, the first woman to serve as speaker. After one potential rival stepped aside, Pelosi is expected to easily win the majority from her ranks.
“I also have said time and again that whoever would get my vote for speaker had to have a plan for fixing the way business is done (or more recently, not done) in Washington,” Davids said. “That’s why I appreciate that Leader Pelosi has embraced input from new voices on rules changes that we’ll be voting on as soon as the new Congress is sworn in and I’ll continue to push for that vote.”
At one point Pelosi’s opponents counted 17 Democrats on a letter against Pelosi and were hoping for more. But one by one, some of them started standing down.
Davids said she will not do anything that could possibly make Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy the speaker.
House Democrats have won at least 233 seats in the 435-member House in the November midterm election, with a few races still uncalled. Pelosi needs 218 to win the job, if all Republicans oppose her, which is likely. The margin could expand slightly with absences or if lawmakers simply vote “present.”