Pelosi Faces Pushback In Speaker Race

As Democrats take over the House, they'll have to figure out who will hold leadership positions in their caucus.

Pelosi Faces Pushback In Speaker Race
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The Democrats are set to take over the House after making major gains during the midterms. And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is the unequivocal leader of congressional Democrats, so she should be a shoo-in to be elected as speaker of the House, right? Not exactly.

"I want to see everyone who has held up their hand to say they are running. I want to see what their resume or bio says and do due diligence, and I'll make a decision after I go through that process," said newly elected Congressman Harley Rouda. 

Pelosi may be the leader, but she's also one of the most polarizing figures in Washington, not just with Democrats and Republicans, but also within the Democratic Party itself.

Critics say she's not the future of the party. After all, she is 78 years old and has been in Congress since 1987. In that time, Pelosi rose through the party and eventually served as speaker from 2007-2011. 

And she represents San Francisco. Democrats have been called the "coastal elites" who are unable to relate to the middle part of the country. Some in the party feel her speakership would be more of the same, a philosophy that kept Democrats out of the majority in the last five elections. 

She's also the Republicans' boogeyman.

She has been used as a motivator to get Republicans to the polls. Republican candidates have run against her as intensely as they've run against their actual opponent. A recent CNN poll showed among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, 44 percent support Pelosi and 46 percent say they'd prefer another Democrat. And because of that, many Democrats campaigned on the promise they wouldn't support her. 

Still, Pelosi has a long resume as to why Democrats should trust her. She's largely responsible for the passage of the Affordable Care Act, one of the main issues Democrats ran on in this election. She's known as a strong woman who gets things done, whether it be fundraising or negotiating. Leader Pelosi also has a personal relationship with the president that could help push the Democratic agenda forward in the next Congress.

A handful of Democrats say they won't support her. If the number grows, Pelosi's speakership would be in jeopardy. She'll need 218 votes to take the gavel back. No candidate has emerged to take on the leader. Elections will be held in a closed-door caucus meeting Nov. 28, but those results aren't binding. The official vote will be after the next Congress is sworn in. The winner only needs a simple majority of the vote to become speaker.