A severely weakened House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won re-election on Sunday with only 216 votes, less than a majority of 218 in the U.S. House of Representatives.
After voting concluded according to C-SPAN’s count, Pelosi had 216 votes and an emboldened House minority leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) secured 209 votes. Two members, both Democrats, voted for somebody else and three members—also Democrats—voted present.
The fact that Pelosi could not even get a majority of members in the U.S. House of Representatives to vote for her—since the House has 435 voting members, a majority is 218—is a sign of how much weaker she is since the 2020 congressional elections in November saw massive losses for House Democrats.
Some of the members who voted “present,” such as Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), framed their vote as against Pelosi.
But technically, Spanberger actually helped Pelosi secure the speakership by voting present. That lowered the total number of votes Pelosi needed to win, as a candidate needs to win a majority of those present and voting for a person. Members of Congress know this, and Pelosi did not actually need Spanberger’s vote in the end, but her claims to have voted for “new leadership” are dishonest as she in effect helped Pelosi secure another term. If she wanted to express opposition to Pelosi, Spanberger and the others who joined her would have actually voted for a different person.
Reps. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) were the other two who voted “present.”