Ahead Of Midterms, Nancy Pelosi Is Already Thinking About When She’ll Step Down As Speaker Of The House

The current House Minority Leader says that she's not going to announce an exact time when she's thinking of stepping down, however.

Current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, here holding the gavel of the Speaker of the House.
Win McNamee / Getty Images

The current House Minority Leader says that she's not going to announce an exact time when she's thinking of stepping down, however.

If Democrats take back the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi — the current House Minority Leader — would likely become Speaker of the House. But how long would she serve in that capacity?

Findings from recent polls demonstrate that most Americans want Democrats to take charge of Congress, supporting generic candidates in this year’s midterm elections when asked in recent surveys.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll, conducted over the course of October 10-16, shows that 51 percent of Americans would prefer a Democrat to win their home district. Just 40 percent would prefer a Republican candidate.

The odds make it clear that Pelosi stands a good chance of becoming the House’s next speaker, but in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Pelosi hinted that she doesn’t want to hold the position for too long.

“I see myself as a transitional figure,” Pelosi explained, adding that she has a long list of priorities which she wants to attend to if Democrats win in November. “I have things to do. Books to write; places to go; grandchildren, first and foremost, to love.”

Pelosi also warned, however, that she wouldn’t be stepping aside on day one. She wouldn’t even elaborate on when she’d consider dropping the title of speaker, which she held previously in 2007.

“Do you think I would make myself a lame duck right here over this double-espresso?” Pelosi asked, rhetorically.

The 78-year-old California Democrat still has a lot of supporters in Congress, but her backing by some in the party is waning. According to reporting from the Washington Post, nearly one-third of non-incumbent Democratic candidates running for House seats this year have refused to — or have outright said that they don’t — endorse Pelosi to become the next Speaker of the House.

The reason why some Democrats are reluctant to embrace Pelosi lies in the fact that she’s a polarizing figure for many right-leaning and centrist independents. Indeed, more than half of the candidates who haven’t made an official statement on whether they support her or not are running for office in jurisdictions that are considered “toss-up” districts. In such electoral districts, it could become difficult for them to win their seats if they support a figure like Pelosi.

Still, many see Pelosi as the obvious choice to become the next speaker, should Democrats win in November.

“If you win the World Series, you open the Champagne and the manager doesn’t get fired. And it’s the same thing here,” another Democratic representative to the House, Brad Sherman, said.