Utah’s Ben McAdams among 15 Democrats who opposed Pelosi as new House speaker to no avail

In this December 2018 file photo, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, the speaker-designate for the new Congress in January, talks to reporters after meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in Washington, D.C., Dec. 18, 2018. | Associated Press photo by J. Scott Applewhite, St. George News

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (AP) — What started as a rebellion with a potentially devastating effect on Nancy Pelosi’s winning drive to reclaim the House speaker’s post officially fizzled Thursday as just 15 Democrats refused to back her bid for the job, including incoming freshman Rep. Ben McAdams of Utah.

Though suspense about the outcome vanished last month, the 15 Democrats who supported other people or voted “present” was an unusually high number of defectors for speaker elections, which every new Congress holds on its first day. It underscored that there remains a nucleus of Pelosi opponents within her party whom she may need to confront, if she seeks to lead the House again after the 2020 elections and Democrats retain their majority.

Ten newly minted Democratic freshmen and five other critics from her party abandoned Pelosi, D-Calif. Because some lawmakers missed the roll call or voted “present,” she needed 216 votes to win Thursday – a figure she surpassed by just four.

The House formally elected her Thursday to lead the new Congress by 220-192 over Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who is now minority leader. A smattering of lawmakers supported alternative candidates.

Democrats gained 40 seats in November’s elections, vaulting them to House control with their biggest electoral gains in four decades after eight years in the minority. Democrats now command a chamber of Congress for the first time since President Donald Trump entered the White House in 2017.

Even so, Pelosi, 78, encountered internal opposition from Democrats who said during their campaigns that they would not back her for speaker.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, talks with Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., during a ceremonial swearing-in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, during the opening session of the 116th Congress. Moulton was one of several Democrats who originally opposed Pelosi as the new House speaker. | Associated Press photo by Susan Walsh, St. George News

Led by rebels including Reps. Tim Ryan of Ohio, Kathleen Rice of New York and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, her foes cited the need for younger, fresh leaders. They also said years of Republican advertising painting Pelosi as an out-of-touch radical had hurt Democrats’ chances to win in moderate districts.

The dissidents initially predicted they would be able to round up enough votes to head her off.

Pelosi began her campaign to regain the speaker’s job, which she held from 2007 until 2011, immediately after the election. She used weeks of one-on-one meetings, promised committee assignments and legislative priorities and lobbying by outside prominent Democrats and groups to wear down her opposition. She clinched her victory after promising to serve no more than four additional years as speaker.

Veteran Democrats who backed other candidates were Reps. Ron Kind of Wisconsin, Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania and Rice. Rice voted for Stacey Abrams, a Democrat who lost a close race for Georgia governor in November. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., voted “present.”

Besides Utah’s McAdams, other incoming Democratic freshmen who opposed Pelosi were Reps. Anthony Brindisi and Max Rose of New York, Jason Crow of Colorado, Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, Jared Golden of Maine, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and New Jersey’s Jeff Van Drew voted “present.”

In one measure of her effectiveness, eight of 16 Democrats who signed a November letter saying they were “committed to voting for new leadership” backed Pelosi Thursday, including Ryan and Moulton.

Ohio GOP Rep. John Boehner was elected speaker in 2015 with 25 Republicans voting for other candidates. That was the high water mark of opposition from a speaker’s own party since World War I and a harbinger of a power play by conservatives that fall that chased him from office.

Most speakers have been elected with unanimous support from their party or a smattering of opposition.

Written by ALAN FRAM, The Associated Press.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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  • Carpe Diem January 4, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    Pelosi is awesome, God’s Gift to Trump. Oh, and all the other TDS afflicted House Members.
    I even enjoyed Willard Mitt Ocasio-Romney falling on his sword a couple days before getting sworn in. Just awesome. Nothing like laying down a stretch of black ice on the road in front of you for the first day on the job.

  • tazzman January 4, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    There was no way Pelosi wasnt going to win speakership. She is a voracious fundraiser for the democratic party and the one person in the House Dem caucus with the ability to keep her members in line. It wasnt going to be Hoyer or anyone else. She is the democratic party’s leader for the last two years and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

  • Uncle Rico January 4, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    I just don’t care for that wacky ol’ woman at all.

    • Real Life January 4, 2019 at 7:58 pm

      As long as she is in charge of the Dems, the GOP will stay on top of the other two branches. She is an absolute wretched person. Kudos to Ben McAdams for keeping his word.

  • Mike P January 5, 2019 at 10:14 am

    I don’t understand what the fuss is all about. She’s perfect for the job. She’s like 200 years old and I’m sure she’s totally in touch with how America thinks. Politics as usual !

  • Comment January 5, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    Pelosi really needs to go. She plays the role of the nice old lady liberal, but she’s actually an elitist, corporatist, globalist to the extreme.

    • Redbud January 5, 2019 at 5:17 pm

      Agreed. Pelosi has earned the crown for Queen of Lies.

      • Comment January 5, 2019 at 6:11 pm

        ease up there, red. Don’t take my disliking of ol’ pelosi to imply that the GOP scum are even a smidge better.

    • bikeandfish January 5, 2019 at 8:06 pm

      She isdefinitely the old vanguard of the DNC that newer progressives are fighting against. Though I don’t buy into the globalist rhetoric the corporate and elite element is true. Though campaigning is so expensive that I’m not sure if we’ll ever change that Congressional reality.

    • bikeandfish January 5, 2019 at 8:33 pm

      I still can’t tell if Redbud is an ineffective troll or actually is as subservient as they are behaving. I mean it’s almost too much a caricature to believe. Full on idol worship. But it’s not uncommon in reality. Alot of people seem to be going down this rabbit hole, though most people I know that voted for Trump now question his mental health.

      • Redbud January 5, 2019 at 9:20 pm

        If you want to call me a troll, that’s your option. At least I’m not spreading fake news. I don’t worship Trump, I simply recognize that he is our President, and he has many great accomplishments, so what’s not to admire about him? Thank goodness there are enough Americans left in this country who voted him into office. This gives me not only hope, but a sense of relief and certainty that he will be elected again in 2020. Trump is our ever-victorious, iron-willed commander.

        • bikeandfish January 5, 2019 at 10:24 pm


          The NBC fact check article isn’t fake news anymore than the definition of “prediction” I shared is fake. You just like the ability to rationally dispute so you choose a lazy retort. You’ve blatantly exposed an active disinterest in fact in several articles so claiming “fake news” is rather ironic.

          I’m not convinced either way you are or aren’t a troll yet but its a worthy curiosity given your North Korea-esque fielty to Trump. You may claim not to worship him but your public statements here paint a different picture.

          I also recognize he is our president. I just don’t verbally idolize and extol him.

          And your “what’s not to admire” retort is either an empty rhetorical question or you aren’t willing to admit his many obvious flaws. Even I as a anti-Trumper have admitted to the benefits under his tenure (1 amazing year of investment returns, criminal justice reform, etc). You don’t show that same ability to name his errors alongside his benefits. That’s a highly questionable quality in a citizen of a democratic republic.

          And your belief that you can define who is American and who isn’t because they politically oppose Trump’s policies is antagonistic to how liberal democracies operate and the foundations of liberty in general. Even I consider Trump American no matter how much I disagree with his tactics, policy and character.

      • Real Life January 5, 2019 at 10:37 pm

        You still don’t get it. For such a smart guy, you are truly dense on this one B&F. The total mistrust of the media by the masses put Trump in office. Trump is a hero to many because he is a big middle finger to both the media, and our ‘established” government. I am not a fan, but at least I know where he stands. Pelosi on the other hand…..

        • bikeandfish January 6, 2019 at 11:47 am

          Oh, I get that his supporters don’t trust the media, RealLife. But not trusting the media is a personal choice that doesn’t equate to the news being “fake”.

          And if you don’t understand Trump’s media savviness for its exploitation of coverage than you don’t understand his multi-pronged strategy. By stirring controversy intentionally he got free coverage from the media he antagonizes. And still does (just look to coverage of his Twitter account coverage). This has been well documented. He didn’t give them the middle finger so much as put his thumb down on the record button. Trump is mainstream media; he is at heart a Reality TV star brand and requires the coverage to maintain currency.

          The notion that Trump is a middle finger to the established government is laughable at best. He has spent his entire personal career and now political career being the worst of the established government. He is cronyism. He is a kleptocrat. And he doesn’t try to hide it. It may have been cathartic to elect him because he verbally challenged the established political officials but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t worse than them in action. He required that catharsis to get his trojan horse in the door.

          So I’m fully aware of the why you detail, Real Life. I just think that short term catharsis actually fortified the institutions you, and what I think most agree, are problematic structures of our republic. And we are seeing that play out openly in front of our eyes.

          • Redbud January 6, 2019 at 2:23 pm

            It’s not just Trump’s supporters, it is most true Americans that don’t trust the media. Much of the media is fake news, but you would prefer to sweep that under the rug so you can use their articles to your perceived benefit. Trump does not exploit the media, what planet are you living on? And who cares about his tweets? Everyone tweets. Your desperate attempt to call the President derogatory names must be very entertaining for you. Just another vain attempt by you to spread more lies. Here is the thing about all the numbers that are being thrown around. It doesn’t matter if it was 50, 200, 3,000, or 12,000 people caught crossing the border, and what percentage of them were criminal/non-criminal, terrorists, drug smugglers, etc… The fact of the matter is, border security helps whether it’s walls, fencing, technology, whatever… The people who actually work doing border security as their job on a daily basis know that these things work. Trump supports what they are asking for, the Americans with any good sense want border security too. Trump is doing the right thing with the shut down, and we can only hope that we will get funding for the wall. Nancy might be able to stop Trump from getting the funding, but at least Trump is trying his best and doing what’s right for this country.

          • Comment January 6, 2019 at 3:29 pm

            I believe b&f is right about the donald. A trojan horse is a good way to describe trump. Simple minds fell for his rhetoric and created trump fanaticism like we see with ‘redbud’ and ‘commonsense’. He told people exactly what they wanted to hear in order to get elected, “oh I’m gonna fix this and fix that. Obama screwed everything up but I’m gonna fix it. Don’t worry about the details, just trust me”. Trump is part of the swamp. There will be no swamp draining. MSM actually did get donald into the white house. I recall the constant and chronic media coverage of the donald, starting in what, 2014? It’s just another reason MSM cannot be trusted.

            I do believe redbud believes trump is some kind of savior. Something for him to worship and adore. I understand people have the need to believe in something. But I find political idol worship extremely bizarre. We saw a lot of the same w/ obama(and hitler)–political idol worship/cult of personality. It’s just strange.

          • bikeandfish January 6, 2019 at 3:42 pm

            I am fully aware trust in the media is low across the board. You know how I know that? Rutroh, media coverage of that trend.

            Keep repeating “fake news”, its an empty, lazy claim. All that exposes is that you lack fundamental critical thinking skills to differentiate fact, opinion and lie. The NBC article is a prime example of that. Its using the actual facts Trump is blatantly trying to distort and spin. NBC and others just are pointing out the nuance, context and real definitions Trump and his team conveniently ignore that are critical to the original internal reports. And those details matter, especially given there have been Zero terrorists caught on the southern border. Zero. Not close to 4,000 like they lied about Friday and continue to try to spin through the weekend. Even Fox News fact checked them on that lie this morning.

            At least you own that you don’t care about the facts and truth. Makes it easier to wholesale discount your dishonesty.

            And thanks for the free laugh about him not exploiting the media. The guy made his fame off of media coverage of his wealth and lavish lifestyle and then leveraged that into becoming a reality television star. Are you just going abandon recent history that’s well documented? The guy is a brand that requires media. You are truly making unhinged statements, Redbud.

            And is all Americans or just ones with good sense that want the border wall? I thought it was just criminals who didn’t? Its confusing as non-partisan polling constantly has shown more American voters are against the wall than for. But that would be a “fact”, which you seem to not care about.


            Best of luck, Redbud. Life is a tough place when you don’t believe in truth and facts.

  • bikeandfish January 6, 2019 at 3:49 pm


    You and I don’t agree of much but do on the above subject. The cult of personality with American presidents has been ascendant for a few administrations now. And in doing so we are giving one branch way too much power. Both parties are at fault. We see it Congress as well but its inherently diluted by its structure.

    Political idol worship is inherently dangerous. This is true during the actual tenure of the president and also in the historical whitewashing afterwards.

  • Redbud January 6, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    Bike your comment “Life is a tough place when you don’t believe in truth and facts,” is exactly right! That’s why Hillary lost the election, and Trump is now President because he tells the truth, and bases his decisions on facts, not lies. Thanks for proving my point!

    • bikeandfish January 6, 2019 at 11:42 pm

      For your own sake I hope you are able to see how misplaced your trust in Trump’s statements are as they are well-documented as untrue. Conservatives and Americans in general deserve better than someone who lies so openly and often as he does. His base may not see it yet but it hurts them as much as his political opposition. It debases us and the values that use to unite us. And by us I mean every American no matter where they stand on the border wall issue. Our political disagreements do not make us any less American or patriotic.

      • Redbud January 7, 2019 at 6:21 pm

        If that’s your opinion, I respect that, but I don’t think Trump is a liar. I don’t think he is looking to do any harm to our country, he just wants to protect it. I support his stance right now because the way I look at it, preventing even one package of drugs, or one person from crossing illegally is worth $5 billion. We are the ones who ultimately pay the price when we let illegals into the country. I am not saying that the wall is the only way or that it’s 100% effective, but if it helps then I support it. I believe it helps because the people who actually do the work defending the border know that it helps to their job better. I know the existing pieces of wall already help to some extent, but why stop now? Get the rest of it in place so we have that little bit of added protection. I am not saying wall off the entire border but keep the walls we have now in good shape by upgrading and maintaining them, and put new walls up where they are most needed.

  • ladybugavenger January 7, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life

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