The House: Whither (Wither?) Pelosi?

Posted by Chris Geidner
November 2, 2010 6:45 PM |

Where will the the night end for the first female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives?

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has pushed a moderately progressive to extremely liberal -- depending on your vantage-point -- agenda through the House, but often her attempts at legislation to those ends have been stymied by a Senate unwilling to act or requiring more moderate bills for passage.

From climate change to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal, the Senate has not acted on several of the more progressive-supported, House-passed bills. With health-care reform, LGBT provisions and the "public option" supported in the House were opposed by the Senate and not a part of the bill that was signed into law by President Barack Obama.

Now, as the close of polls nears on Election Day on the East Coast, The New York Times's Nate Silver projects at his FiveThirtyEight blog that the House will end up with a 232-Republican majority and 203-Democrat minority.

Thirty Democrats' seats are likely to be lost to Republicans, including Demorcatic Reps. Tom Perriello -- facing Tom Hurt (R) -- in Virginia and Mary Jo Kilroy -- facing Steve Stivers (R) -- in Ohio.

Although Rep. John Boccieri (D-Ohio) has been closing the gap against his opponent, Jim Renacci, he too is still facing an uphill battle. DADT repeal champion Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) likewise is not favored to end the night by besting his challenger, former Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R).

In the D.C. metro area, Fairfax's Rep. Jerry Connolly (D-Va.) faces a challenge from Keith Fimian (R) in a race that has gotten unexpectedly close in the closing weeks of the election. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has faced a strong challenge from Sean Bielat, although he is still expected to retain his seat.

In the open seat held by Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), out politician David Cicilline (D) remains the favorite to win the seat, although John Loughlin has picked up some traction in the closing two weeks of the campaign.

Menwhile, of Republican Reps. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), Joseph Cao (R-La.) and Charles Djou (R-Hawaii) -- early targets for Democratic takeovers -- Cao is expected to lose his seat, to Cedric Richmond (D), and Djou is fighting off a strong challenge from Colleen Hanabusa (D). Bono Mack is likely to succeed in her raca against out challenger Steve Pougnet (D). Bono Mack and Djou both have the support of both GOProud and the Log Cabin Republicans, while Cao also has LCR's support.

Regardless of the outcome of some of these particular races, the overall trend is expected to leave Pelosi out of the speakership but still in the House.

Soon enough, though, expectations will be proven true or -- in an outcome doubtless preferred by Pelosi -- she will remain in charge of the speaker's gavel for another session of Congress.


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