Pelosi aims to keep top U.S. House job if Democrats keep majority

·2 min read
U.S. House Speaker Pelosi holdsnews conference on Capitol Hill in Washington
U.S. House Speaker Pelosi holdsnews conference on Capitol Hill in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday said she will seek to stay on as head of the U.S. House of Representatives if her fellow Democrats keep their majority after the Nov. 3 general election, cementing her hold on the party as it seeks to regain control of the White House and the Senate.

Asked if she planned to run for another term as U.S. House speaker if her political party maintains control, she told CNN in an interview: "Yes, I am."

Pelosi, 80, again took the mantle of House speaker after her Democrats won the lower chamber of Congress in 2018, two years into Republican President Donald Trump's term. She previously held the top job of speaker from 2007 to 2011.

While a small but vocal group of Democrats had urged a change in leadership to make way for a younger generation of party leaders, Pelosi has proven herself a tough counterweight to Trump and presided over his impeachment even as she has become a political bunching bag for Republicans.

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the party's more liberal wing who was among a wave of new Democrats who swept into the House in 2018, had pushed for fresh leadership before Democrats coalesced around Pelosi.

Asked if she would support the California Democrat for speaker again, Ocasio-Cortez said she was focused on growing the party's House majority, particularly with more progressive Democrats.

"If Speaker Pelosi is that most progressive candidate, then I will be supporting her," she told CNN in a separate interview.

House Democrats hold a 232-197 majority over Republicans and are seeking to pick up more seats in next month's election, which has 43 U.S. competitive House races.

Control of the Republican-led Senate is also at stake in the Nov. 3 contest, and Pelosi on Sunday acknowledged the need for Democrats to also win back control of the upper chamber in order to pursue their agenda.

"We have to win the Senate," she told CNN.

Trump, who is seeking re-election, said in last week's debate against his Democratic rival Joe Biden that he thought Republicans could re-take the chamber next month, a prediction Pelosi dismissed.

Reuters/Ipsos polling shows close races for the Senate and between Trump and Biden in multiple U.S. states but nationally shows Biden leading Trump by 8 percentage points among likely voters, 51% to 43%. Sagging support for Trump has also raised concerns about Senate Republicans' 53-47 majority with competitive races for 10 seats.

Biden, 77, also won over a number of younger Democrats to secure the party's nomination to challenge Trump, 74.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Nick Zieminski)