If Democrats win two uncalled races where their candidates are leading, they will have won 235 seats, meaning Pelosi can weather as many as 17 defections. Already she's been busy cajoling recalcitrant members on the record to opposing her - with some success.
Pelosi still has to face a House floor vote from both parties on January 3, when the next Congress begins.
Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks at Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on November 28, 2018, to announce her nomination by House Democrats to lead them in the new Congress. But after Wednesday's internal caucus election, she'll likely have another job qualification to impress on Democrats weighing their choices. Only four of them voted against her last time on the House floor, her allies were quick to point out.
Speaking to reporters as the votes were being counted down the hall, Pelosi said it was "so inspiring to hear my colleagues place my name in nomination once again for Speaker of the House".
"We all agree that history is in a hurry, and we need to accelerate the pace of change in Congress", she said. "The votes will be there".
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The vote came after Pelosi struck a tentative deal with the Problem Solvers Caucus, an offshoot of the bipartisan and business-friendly No Labels organization. Pelosi's team actually pushed some freshman Democrats who said they wouldn't support her to vote against Pelosi in the caucus election ― that way they could tell their constituents they had upheld their word to oppose Pelosi. But now it looks as if it will take a failed floor vote for others to announce. It's unclear what the enforcement mechanisms would be.
The only possible challenge to Pelosi's leadership came from Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), who was quickly revealed to have signed a letter of support for a man convicted of domestic abuse in 2011 - a man who is now the prime suspect in the death of the woman he was eventually convicted of abusing. "The American people sent Democrats to Congress so that we would fight for the values they care about and to act as a check on this administration", Hayes said. "We're committed to running the House differently while upholding our Democratic values".
Another group, led by Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Rep. Tim Ryan of OH and Rep. Kathleen Rice of NY, left the leader's office empty-handed.
Her nomination comes as some Democrats are calling for new leadership. "Unfortunately, our concerns were dismissed outright", Rice said. "We remain united behind our goal of new leadership and intend to vote against Leader Pelosi in caucus and on the floor of the House".
"You can't beat someone with no one, and the fact is that voting against Pelosi on the floor is a vote for the Republicans".
Pelosi still lacks the votes she'll need in January, when the new Congress convenes, to ascend to the post.
Sixteen members and members-elect have signed a letter promising they will not support Pelosi, but already one has backtracked and others have said they will support Pelosi only if there is no one else running, as now appears to be the case.