Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

19 Dems Abandon Pelosi 19 Dems Abandon Pelosi

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Want access to this content? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation


19 Dems Abandon Pelosi


Outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi won the vast majority of Democratic votes for Speaker, but she faces a caucus in which about one in ten members voted publicly for someone else.

Fully 19 of the 193 Democrats elected to the 112th Congress voted for someone other than Pelosi for Speaker. The nineteen defectors were: Reps. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), John Barrow (D-Ga.), Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), Dan Boren (D-Okla.), Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), Tim Holden (D-Pa.), Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Larry Kissell (D-N.C.), Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.), Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Mike Michaud (D-Maine), Mike Ross (D-Ark.), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.)

Many of the defectors came from the ranks of the Blue Dogs and have been frequent critics of Pelosi, but a surprising handful of others - like Giffords, Schrader, Michaud, Kind, Cardoza and Costa-- have voted reliably with leadership, but broke for this pivotal vote. In fact, 11 of the 19 represent districts that President Obama carried in the 2008 election, but they all found themselves in tougher-than-expected reelection campaigns last year.

Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) won 11 votes, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) won two votes, and Reps. Costa, Cooper, Cardoza, Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Steny Hoyer (D-Md) each won a single vote. Bishop voted "present."

One notable pro-Pelosi vote: Rep. Bill Owens (D-N.Y.), who told his local paper that it was possible he would vote for House Speaker John Boehner. He didn't follow through on that possibility, a point the National Republican Congressional Committee immediately hammered home.

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories


Rick, Executive Director for Policy

Concise coverage of everything I wish I had hours to read about."

Chuck, Graduate Student

The day's action in one quick read."

Stacy, Director of Communications

I find them informative and appreciate the daily news updates and enjoy the humor as well."

Richard, VP of Government Affairs

Chock full of usable information on today's issues. "

Michael, Executive Director

Sign up form for the newsletter