Pelosi defeats Shuler in House Democratic race

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will remain as the Democratic leader when her party loses its majority in the new Congress, turning back a largely symbolic challenge from moderate North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler.

The vote was 150-43, with the California Democrat keeping her post despite a net loss of more than 60 House seats for her party in the Nov. 2 midterm elections.

Other members of Mrs. Pelosi’s leadership team were expected to hold on to their posts as the Democratic caucus voted throughout the afternoon.

Mr. Shuler said going into the vote that he did not expect to win, but hoped to draw attention to concerns among party centrists about Mrs. Pelosi’s leadership and that the caucus was being pushed too far to the left. A previous proposal by dissident Democrats to delay the leadership vote until December was defeated earlier in the day.

Mr. Shuler is a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dogs, whose ranks were decimated in the Nov. 2 vote. In many swing districts, successful Republicans candidates in their ads used images of Mrs. Pelosi to attack their Democratic rivals.

Mr. Shuler, a former quarterback for the Washington Redskins who just won election to a second term in the House, called his candidacy “a message that it’s more than just the Blue Dogs that have a concern about what is going on.”

“It wasn’t about wining races. it was about having a voice in the caucus…to ensure moderates were heard,” he said.

 

As minority leader in the next Congress, Mrs. Pelosi returns to the post she held before Democrats took control of the House in the 2006 midterm vote. She is the first woman ever to serve as speaker of the House.

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