Democratic Votes Against Pelosi Highest In Almost 100 Years
While the 19 Democrats who chose to vote for someone other than Nancy Pelosi for Speaker yesterday may not seem large, it represented the largest such defection since before World War I:
With 19 Democrats withholding support from Nancy Pelosi for House speaker on Wednesday, it represented the largest defection from a party’s speaker nominee in nearly a century.
The resistance in the Democratic Party to back now-former Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.) in the ceremonial first vote of the 112th Congress registered higher than at any point since 1913, according to data from the Congressional Research Service.
That year, which happens to be the last year for which records are available, featured 23 votes for Republicans other than that party’s speaker nominee. Of the 19 Democrats who didn’t support Pelosi on Wednesday, 18 voted for other Democrats and one voted “present.”
In no other election in between do the numbers approach those two races (with an asterisk next to 1923, when 22 votes were cast for other Republicans on the first of nine ballots; by the ninth and final ballot, though, there were only two defectors).
Back in the 1920s, though, defections were much more common. Since 1945, only seven such protest votes have been lodged — total.
Of the 18 Democrats voting for other candidates yesterday, 11 voted for Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), two voted for Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and five voted for other Democrats. The seven candidates receiving votes is more than any other race on record.
It also made Heath Shuler more popular in Washington, D.C. than he was in his days as a Redskins Quaterback.