House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) confirmed Tuesday afternoon to the Boston Globe that she intends to serve as Speaker of the House if Democrats win the 2018 midterm election.
“We will win. I will run for speaker. I feel confident about it. And my members do, too,” Pelosi told the Globe in an interview in Boston.
Pelosi served as the nation’s first female Speaker of the House from 2007 to 2011. She was known for centralizing power in the Speaker’s office and backed the late Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), widely seen as corrupt, over Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) in the race for House Majority Leader. (Hoyer won and has served as Pelosi’s deputy ever since.) Congress also passed massive increases in domestic spending on Pelosi’s watch.
In 2010, Pelosi led her party to a crushing defeat in the 2010 midterm elections, after forcing Obamacare through the lower chamber, infamously declaring: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
She defied expectations that she would resign after her party’s defeat, and repeatedly fought off internal challengers to retain her “iron grip” on power — in the Globe‘s words — within her caucus.
Though she is deeply unpopular, with a February poll showing her approval rating at only 29%, Pelosi is a prolific fundraiser, raising $16.1 million for Democratic candidates in the first quarter of 2018 alone.
She has rejected claims that she is too old, at 78, to lead, dismissing concerns about her mental sharpness and physical stamina by speaking on the floor of the House earlier this year for more than eight uninterrupted hours on behalf of so-called “Dreamers” (illegal aliens brought to the U.S. as minors).
Some Democrats are irritated at Pelosi’s efforts to intervene in primary races to push out “progressive” candidates that appeal to the party base but who are considered less likely to win in a general election.
Republicans believe that Pelosi will help their prospects in November by motivating conservatives to vote against her.