While Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has made it clear that she will run stand for re-election as House Minority Leader, she doesn’t have the support of every Democrat in the chamber. Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), a so-called “Blue Dog Democrat” who barely survived last week in a tough race against Mia Love, has stated that he will oppose Pelosi if someone steps up to run against her:
Matheson, D-Utah, told The Salt Lake Tribune on Wednesday that he would oppose Pelosi’s bid to lead the Democratic Caucus, as he did in 2010, though he doesn’t know if anyone will step up to challenge the powerful leader and he expects that she will keep her post.
“I think it is time to shake things up within the Democratic Caucus. I think we should look for some new leadership,” Matheson said. “I won’t be voting for Nancy Pelosi.”
He argues Pelosi has contributed to the polarization in Washington that has squeezed out moderates in each party and made it more difficult for Congress to take action on pressing issues.
“If we had new leadership, that helps create a new opportunity for working in a constructive way,” Matheson said.
There is no denying that Pelosi is a polarizing figure. The last example of that came during her press conference on Wednesday when Pelosi laughed off a question from Luke Russert about her age. Russert simply relayed some private concerns from other members of her caucus that the top-three leaders were in their 70s while House Republican leadership was much younger. Rather than answer the question, Pelosi claimed it was offensive and sexist.
Despite his complaints, Matheson said that he would not run against Pelosi, knowing the likelihood of her losing is practically non-existant. Then-Rep. Health Shuler (D-NC), also a Blue Dog Democrat, ran against Pelosi for House Minority Leader, but only received 43 votes; not nearly enough to unseat her.