House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that she will run for reelection in 2022, seeking a 19-term in Congress, but remained silent on whether she plans to seek to retain her position leading House Democrats.
Pelosi dropped the news in a three-minute video to supporters shared on her “Team Pelosi” political Twitter page Tuesday afternoon.
“I am running for re-election to Congress and respectfully seek your support,” Pelosi said in the 3-minute video message. “I would be greatly honored by it and grateful for it.”
“While we have made progress much more needs to be done to improve people’s lives. This election is crucial: nothing less is at stake than our Democracy,” Pelosi added. “But we don’t agonize; we organize. I am running for re-election to Congress to deliver for the people and defend Democracy.”
The House Speaker ticked off a list of unfinished businesses as a reason for seeking a 19th term, including issues related to education, housing, voting, and the U.S. Democracy being “at risk.”
“Our Democracy is at risk because of assaults on the truth, the assault on the U.S. Capitol, and the state-by-state assault on voting rights. This election is crucial. Nothing less is at stake than our Democracy,” she said.
The announcement from Pelosi comes amid speculation on her political future given this is her self-imposed last year in the speakership with rumors also swirling that the Speaker would retire completely following the 2022 election if Democrats do overwhelmingly lose the majority.
Largely silent in her announcement video was any indication from Pelosi if she would also seek to retain her party’s leadership position in the House despite her pledge. The announcement of Pelosi seeking a 19th term is expected to punt talks of leadership races for the next months until after the results of the 2022 midterm that will ultimately determine which party will control the lower chamber.
Pelosi was first elected to the House following a 1987 special election where she represented the San Francisco area. She has led the Democratic party for the last 19 years since 2002. The California Democrat made history when she became the first female Speaker of the House in 2007. Since becoming the Democratic leader, Pelosi has become a fundraising prowess, raising more than $1 billion for her party over the past two decades as the top Democrat.
After Democrats were soundly defeated following the 2010 midterm elections, Pelosi spent eight years as the minority leader before becoming Speaker for the second time in 2019. She would also become the first Speaker in the last 50 years to lose the gavel and regain it right back following her party regaining control of the House. At that time, Pelosi pledged that she would serve just two more terms as House Speaker in exchange with progressives for their support after they called for a change in leadership.
In 2020, Pelosi was re-elected Speaker for a fourth term despite Democrats showing larger-than-expected losses in an election where political analysts forecasted would be an upset for the party overwhelming winning the majority.
Democrats, however, are now facing an uphill battle to keep control of both chambers heading to the 2022 midterms as it’s projected the party is expecting to receive a shellacking. House Democrats have the slimmest majority in decades, and so far, 29 members have announced they are retiring or seeking a different office. Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee became the latest Democrat to announce earlier Tuesday his retirement ahead of the 2022 midterm, bringing the total number of House Democrats retiring at the end of the term up to 21.
The Democratic caucus never followed through with enacting the formal rule, which limits members to three terms in leadership with a potential fourth. Pelosi said she would abide by the limit regardless of whether the caucus enacted the formal rule. The 2018 agreement didn’t appear to explicitly address a cap on members serving as minority leaders or the top Democrats in the House under Republican control.