Two of Minnesota’s newest Democratic members of Congress campaigned on platforms of promoting unity and bipartisanship in Washington, but will be working with a Democratic-controlled House set on punishing the president and placing the speakership back in the hands of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12).
Pelosi is currently the odds-on favorite to replace Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI-01), but a growing cohort of Democrats is plotting against her, including Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), who said asking new members of Congress to vote for Pelosi could be catastrophic in their reelections.
“If we’re asking members, many of them who have said during their campaign that they’re not going to vote for Nancy Pelosi—15 to 20 of them—if the first thing we ask them to do is vote for her, they’re going to be in a lot of trouble in their reelection,” Ryan told NPR. “And I just don’t think that’s fair to them.”
Among those who are still on the fence about a potential Pelosi speakership are Democrats Angie Craig and Dean Phillips, both of whom unseated Republicans in Minnesota. On the campaign trail, Phillips called for a “new generation of leadership” when asked about his support for Pelosi.
Craig has dodged the questions on multiple occasions, though she did say Friday that she’d like to “see more members of the Democratic Party from the Midwest move into leadership.”
“At the end of the day, I’m a freshmen member of Congress coming in looking at who’s running for these various leadership positions, and so I do want to take a good look at who’s running for each of them and then make a decision,” she said. “I think we need to not be in a situation where everybody’s from the coasts.”
State Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) will be joining Phillips and Craig in Minnesota’s new congressional class, though Omar’s district is far more Democratic. During Pelosi’s first speakership, for instance, both Phillips’ district and Craig’s district were represented by Republicans, while Omar’s was represented by Keith Ellison.
Midterm exit polls showed that most Democratic voters across the country want a Trump impeachment, and a now Democratic-controlled House seems up for the task. Craig and Phillips, however, have been resistant to the idea.
“I’ve said that we shouldn’t be having that discussion. If there’s a reason to have that discussion, it would come after a thorough investigation … the independent investigation being led by Robert Mueller,” Craig told The Pioneer Press Friday, saying Democrats need to find a way to “work with this administration on a daily basis to pass bipartisan legislation.”
Phillips struck a similar tone on the campaign trail, and warned Democrats against emphasizing impeachment efforts.
Omar, however, is wholeheartedly in favor of a Trump impeachment, telling CNN that she “would vote yes” if given the opportunity.
“I feel that we’re just even seeing the tip of the iceberg of how destructive this president is. I recognize him as a tyrant,” she said. “I recognize him as someone who has developed tendencies of dictatorship,”
Omar, Phillips, and Craig will become freshmen members of Congress in January, as well as Minnesota Republicans Pete Stauber and Jim Hagedorn.
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