Stephen Lynch reverses, backs Nancy Pelosi for speaker

December 7, 2018

Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts on Friday became the latest Democrat to rally behind Rep. Nancy Pelosi after vowing to oppose her, saying she convinced him the caucus will work to bring working-class voters who flocked to President Trump in 2016 back into their tent.

He also said Mrs. Pelosi will “re-empower” the House Oversight Committee, of which Mr. Lynch is a senior member.

“From our conversations, I believe Leader Pelosi understands not only the job that needs to be done, but also how to bring disparate voices in our party together to make good things happen for the people we represent,” he said in a statement. “I’m happy to be supporting her and look forward to the upcoming session.”

Mr. Lynch is the latest Democrat to cave after signing a “Never Nancy” letter that made waves after the midterm elections.

Democrats flipped 40 seats to retake the majority, though the leadership race has roiled the party’s transition back to power.

Mrs. Pelosi, who served as speaker from 2007 to 2011, easily won the majority she needed in a secret-ballot caucus vote last month, though she’s working to win over some of the 35 Democrats that refused to line up behind her including 32 who voted no and 3 who left their ballots blank.

Mr. Lynch had softened his opposition in recent weeks, saying he would opt for Mrs. Pelosi if the only alternative was voting for a Republican. Indeed, rebels Democrats who want Mrs. Pelosi to outline a transition plan to new leadership have been unable to field a viable alternative.

Mrs. Pelosi has been cutting deals as she whittles down the number of opponents to get the 218 votes she needs during a speaker’s vote before the full house Jan. 3.

Prior to her pledge to Mr. Lynch, she tasked Rep. Brian Higgins, New York Democrat, will leading efforts to develop a Medicare buy-in plan for Americans under age 65, while Rep. Marcia Fudge, Ohio Democrat briefly touted as a Pelosi alternative, will lead efforts to bolster voting rights.

Update hourly