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article imageAre Nancy Pelosi's Speaker days numbered?

By R. Francis Rubio     Oct 21, 2010 in Politics
Washington - Even if House Democrats manage to keep their majority in Congress come November it may not be enough to secure Nancy Pelosi's job as Speaker.
With less than two week remaining until the 2010 midterm elections Democrats are campaigning hard in an effort to prevent a wave election sweeping Republicans into power and gaining control of the House of Representatives.
Many political experts forecast big gains for Republicans in the upcoming mid-term elections but differ on just how big, and will it be enough for the party to take control of the house and possibly the Senate as well.
Never the less most experts do agree that the Democratic Party is poised to lose a large number of seats this time around partly due to the political climate and overall mood of the Country, and if they do retain control of the House, it will be most likely by a very slim margin.
Although Rep. Pelosi enjoys a substantial lead in her own district race, Nationally the story is quite different. In a recent Gallop poll taken Wednesday the Speakers favorable rating dropped to an all time low of 29%, down seven percentage points since May, and far below the 44% rating she had when she became House Speaker in January.
The first vote in every new Congress is the vote on Speaker and due to it's constitutional significance it takes a plurality of the entire House in order for a member to win election.
With that being said and the prospect of a much slimmer majority, it begs the question: Will Speaker Pelosi have enough support among House Democrats to hold on to the gavel?
According to a Washington Post article published today, at least five House Democrats recently announced that if they hold the House they would not support Pelosi for the Speakership and more than a dozen expressed to the media that they would consider backing an alternative Democratic candidate.
Embattled Representatives Jason Altmire (Pa.), Mike McIntyre (NC.), Bobby Bright (Ala.), Gene Taylor (Miss.) and Jim Marshall (Ga.) all voiced opposition to Ms. Pelosi. Rep. McIntyre even told WWAY-TV in North Carolina that "From what we're hearing, she's probably not going to run for Speaker again, and if she does, I'm confident she's going to have opposition, and I look forward to supporting that opposition."
McIntyre himself, a seven-term centrist Democrat is facing a very tough challenge from Republican Ilario Pantano in his district. Even though some surveys such as the nonpartisan Cook Political Report put the race as "lean Democratic," the NC. district is seen as generally favorable for Republicans.
This is not new to Congress. In 1997 after being reprimanded by the House ethics committee Newt Gingrich narrowly survived the vote for Speaker of the House by a margin of 216 to 205 after losing the support of nine of his fellow Republicans. Then two years later with only five votes to spare, Gingrich was essentially forced to resign as Speaker due to opposition from a small but determined group of House Republicans.
As far as the Speaker Pelosi's take on this, she recently told PBS that she doesn't mind Democrats distancing themselves from her, saying, "I just wan't them to win," although, she declined to comment on her running for Speaker again or not.
Also, in a radio interview Wednesday the Speaker said to Gayle King, "We're in a fight. We don't even think about losing. We just have our eye on the ball, which is victory."
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