House Speaker Nancy Pelosi surprised many observers on Monday when she announced she would file for reelection from California’s 12th District (San Francisco).
At age 81— the oldest U.S. House speaker in history — and after 34 years in Congress, Pelosi is considered a cinch to win again.
But Pelosi watchers almost universally conclude that, if Republicans take control of the House, the then-former speaker will quickly resign and thus force Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom to call a special election.
“Everyone knows that if Democrats lose their majority next year — which seems very likely — that Pelosi will leave Congress,” Jon Fleischman, editor of the much-read online “Flash Report” on California politics, told The Conservative Digest. “It seems very improbable that she will serve out a while term relegated to the minority. If she does leave, San Francisco County should charge her a few hundred thousand dollars to cover the cost of having to conduct a special election.”
Although the situation could change following redistricting, early betting on Pelosi’s succession is a dynastic war between the heirs to the districts three U.S. Representatives since 1964 — Christine Pelosi, the most politically engaged of the speaker’s five children and a top Democrat fundrasiser; and State Personnel Board Chairman Kimiko Burton, niece of Pelosi’s two immediate predecessors (the late Reps. Phil and Sala Burton).
Some younger Democrats resent the way the congressional district has been passed on by the three lawmakers: with Sala following her husband Phil after his death in 1983, and then Sala choosing close ally Pelosi by pointing at her from her deathbed in 1987.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for The Conservative Digest. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.