Barely eight months after she relinquished the speaker’s gavel, Nancy Pelosi defied predictions nationwide last week to announce that, after 36 years in Congress and at age 83, she would seek reelection in 2024.
In so doing, the self-styled “speaker emerita” made history. Pelosi is now the first former House speaker to seek reelection after leaving the position since Republican Joe Martin in 1956.
Massachusetts lawmaker Martin had to step down as speaker in 1954 after Democrats recaptured control of the House. In 1959, he was deposed as minority leader by fellow Republican Rep. Charles Halleck of Indiana, but continued to be reelected to the House. In 1966, at age 81 and after 42 years in Congress, Martin lost renomination to lawyer Margaret Heckler, who was 35.
Is a similar fate in store for Pelosi in her San Francisco-based, heavily Democrat 11th District?
“She’ll retire after one more term,” Dan Schnur, professor at the University of California, Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, and top aide to former GOP California Gov. Pete Wilson, “I can’t see her running in 2026.”
“I think she is probably OK, but city politics can be volatile,” said former Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, a onetime chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee. “As long as she stays above the fray she can probably last another term. The caveat is there are lots of ambitious liberals who may not want to wait or allow her to set the seat up for her daughter.”
Rumors have long been rampant in San Francisco that Pelosi would love to pass on her seat to daughter Christine, attorney, member of the Democratic National Committee, and wife of film director Peter Kaufman.
The 11th District is now roughly 47% white, but its Hispanic (25.9%), and Asian (13.6%) populations have been growing.
“Even so,” said Davis, “Nancy has that ‘it’ factor that makes her hard to dislodge.”
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.