The coalition of Democratic Representatives opposing Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s return to Speaker of the House has all but collapsed, according to The New York Times, and the group’s ringleader is now petitioning the likely Democratic leader for concessions and guarantees instead.
Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA), who was the lead author of an open-letter addressed to Pelosi, issued at the beginning of last week, was talking tough until Tuesday, when he told the NYT that he was looking to collaborate with Pelosi instead, and perhaps win a few concessions. And although he didn’t specifically say he’d be dropping his challenge as payment for Pelosi’s attention, the quid-pro-quo is certainly implied.
“Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, who helped spearhead a letter last week in which 16 Democrats said it was time for Ms. Pelosi to stand aside, said that his effort was ‘bigger than her,’ as Democratic aides aligned with him said that some of the defectors were searching for a deal that would ultimately allow them to vote for her,” according to the NYT.
Moulton’s insurgency never really got big enough to deny Pelosi her God-given right to lead the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives into a quagmire of investigations and committee hearings; at best, Moulton’s group might have forced Pelosi to campaign for support outside of the narrow committee that typically recommends Democrats for leadership positions.
Last week, Moulton and his group also faced down a host of high-profile defectors, like Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who complained that while Moulton’s message was right — that the Democrats needed fresh, new leadership — there were no obvious challengers, and certainly no more progressive challengers, for the Speaker’s gavel.
The best Moulton’s coalition could do was offer up Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), who found herself on the wrong end of what is likely a Pelosi-led opposition research effort. A letter Fudge wrote in support of a lenient sentence for a friend convicted of domestic violence suddenly surfaced, just as Fudge was emerging as a top contender (and just as that same friend became the lead suspect in a murder case involving the woman he was convicted of abusing).
Fudge eventually struck her own deal with Pelosi, dropping any hint of a challenge in return for a seat at the helm of the long-defunct and now-resurrected House committee on voting rights.
Moulton seems to want his own committee chairmanship, or a high-profile, yet lower position in leadership.
“Mr. Moulton’s call for negotiation with Ms. Pelosi left open the possibility that he and like-minded Democrats who have pushed for new leadership might be willing to back her in exchange for the promise of a fresh face in a lower-ranking leadership position, or a commitment from Ms. Pelosi to step aside in the next year or two to make way for a younger generation,” the NYT reports.
But Nancy Pelosi isn’t terribly forgiving. And Moutlon’s co-conspirators may not appreciate being sold out. Sources told Politico that Moulton’s concessions weren’t the product of a group consent decree, but rather Moutlon’s own decision, and other members of Moulton’s coalition have begun their own negotiations with Pelosi on things like House rules and committee memberships.