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Centrist Democrats talk leadership changes after negative election results

BY SCOTT WONG AND MIKE LILLIS – 11/04/20 01:50 PM EST 15,76827,679

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by Centrist Democrats talk leadership changes after negative election resultshttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.422.0_en.html#goog_43034811

Stung by their party’s dispiriting showing at the polls Tuesday, two moderate House Democrats say they and other centrists are privately discussing a plan that was unthinkable just 24 hours earlier: throwing their support behind a challenger to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The two Democrats told The Hill on Wednesday that they were reaching out to their colleagues about backing one of Pelosi’s top lieutenants, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.), for Speaker in the next Congress.

“He’s the only one prepared and positioned” to be Speaker, said one of the Democratic lawmakers. “He bridges moderates and progressives better than anyone. And most importantly, he’s not Nancy Pelosi.”

The idea was immediately shot down by Jeffries, who says he’s focused on keeping his current spot. Yet the grumbling reflects a remarkable shift in internal Democratic thinking in the immediate wake of Tuesday’s elections.

Heading into the polls, Pelosi enjoyed the overwhelming support of her caucus — facing no threat of a Speakership challenge — and Democratic leaders were eyeing big gains to their majority, with some estimates in the double digits.

But the early returns revealed a different reality: Not only did Democrats lose a number of their most vulnerable members, they had not picked off a single Republican incumbent heading into Wednesday evening.

The results immediately emboldened Republican leaders, who accused Pelosi and her party of being out of touch with the country. And Democrats on and off of Capitol Hill were left licking their wounds and questioning the strategic decisions that guided their party’s message throughout the campaign.

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