Nancy Pelosi will run for re-election in 2022. Why?  

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — who will be turning 82 in March — announced Tuesday that she will run for another two-year term in Congress, ending speculation that she might retire this year. When the writing was on the wall in early 2018 that former President Donald Trump’s unpopularity would hand Democrats the House (it did), Pelosi’s predecessor Paul Ryan announced he would not seek re-election and retire at the end of the year. Pelosi, faced with a similar situation amid President Joe Biden’s slipping approval, is making a very different calculation. Why? The most obvious — and perhaps most likely — answer is a simple desire to cling to power. An uncommonly ambiguous report from CNN in December indicated that Pelosi may renege on her vow to leave Democratic Party leadership in 2023 if she remains in Congress by then. If Democrats lose the House to Republicans in November — a scenario that grows likelier by the day — Pelosi will likely face a more difficult path to being named the top House Democrat than she’s faced in the past. A group of moderates did not support her speaker bid in 2021, and her stock trading is only exacerbating longstanding tension with progressives. Furthermore, House Minority Leader Pelosi becomes an even tougher sell if Democrats are delivered a shellacking in 2022 that rivals or even exceeds the 2010 beatdown. It is worth pointing out, however, that the ever-savvy Pelosi does have a path back to leadership because one faction that opposes her (moderates in purple districts) could be voted out of office in a GOP wave year, while the other (progressives) routinely fails to actually wield power. But even if Pelosi is unable to maintain her position in leadership in 2023, there’s another reason she may be choosing to remain in Congress: Ensuring she can more safely hand-pick her successor.

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