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Pelosi on Track as Effort to Delay Vote Fails

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., waits to speak to supporters at an election night party in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Nancy Pelosi is on track to be elected Democratic House leader in the new Congress following the failure of a push to postpone today's leadership vote.

Democrats voted 129-68 to proceed to a vote, which will take place later today. The vote to proceed is the latest sign that Pelosi will easily win back her leadership position despite the fact that she presided over the loss of more than 60 sears, and the chamber, to the GOP.

Pelosi was used in campaigns around the country by Republicans seeking to tie their opponent to the unapologetic San Francisco liberal. Many of the relatively conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats who saw their ranks decimated in the midterm elections have called on Pelosi to step aside.

One of those Blue Dogs, Heath Shuler (D-NC), has challenged Pelosi for the leadership post. He is making his case to the Democratic caucus today. Utah's Jim Matheson, a Blue Dog who argues "it's time to shake things up" in the wake of the midterm losses, nominated Schuler.

"We've obviously come off the biggest loss that we've had for the Democratic party in almost a century," Shuler, a former professional football player, said yesterday. "And to go back and put the exact leadership into place is probably not the right thing for our party."

Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi, who lost his reelection bid, said Democrats would be "crazy" to reelect Pelosi. He said he would have won reelection had she not been speaker because she was the only issue in his race. Another losing conservative Democrat, Rep. Allen Boyd of Florida, said Pelosi should not be the Democratic leader and called her the face of the midterm loss.

Assuming all goes expected following the secret-ballot vote, the Democratic leadership in the new Congress will look very similar to the leadership in the current one. Reps. Steny Hoyer and James Clyburn are expected to emerge with their #2 and #3 slots in the leadership intact. The 70-year-old Pelosi is the highest-ranking woman in U.S. government history.

During a meeting of House Democrats yesterday, two Democratic lawmakers who lost their reelection bidsasked Pelosi not to follow through on her plan to remain as party leader.

Pelosi's response was to point members of her caucus to her record and credentials. She stated that she led Democrats out of the political wilderness in 2006 and vowed to do it again.

Republicans are also holding their House leadership elections today, with Rep. John Boehner expected to be elected to be the new speaker of the House in the next Congress, which convenes in January.

Brian Montopoli is senior political reporter for You can read more of his posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.
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