It was a bitter sweet victory.
Democrats on Wednesday picked Nancy Pelosi to be their nominee for House speaker — but intraparty opposition remains strong enough to potentially derail her bid.
In a closed-door caucus session, 203 Democrats voted for the California congresswoman to take on the powerful post while 32 voted against her.
That spells trouble for Pelosi as she needs 218 votes when the full House convenes on Jan. 3 to vote on her nomination. Either she needs to convince at least 15 of the defiant Dems to change their mind or attempt to court Republican support.
Sixteen centrist Democrats — including incoming New York Reps. Anthony Brindisi and Max Rose and Long Island incumbent Kathleen Rice — were among the no voters and have pledged to oppose Pelosi in January because they say the party needs new leadership. However, they haven’t offered an alternative candidate or explained what an ideal speaker would look like.
“We met with Leader Pelosi and tried to engage her in a reasonable conversation about leadership transition,” Rice said in a statement after the vote. “Unfortunately, our concerns were dismissed outright. 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.”
Pelosi, who currently serves as House minority leader, told reporters after the vote closed but before a tally was announced that she was grateful for the “scores” of Democrats who have offered her a “vote of confidence.”