No sign Nancy Pelosi to follow Miller, Waxman to retirement
The departure of veteran California Democrats Henry Waxman and George Miller within the last two weeks is fueling speculation in Washington that Nancy Pelosi’s departure could soon follow. As the National Journal put it, “It’s clear she’s not long for Congress.”
Democratic aides said nothing could be less clear. One aide who has worked closely with Pelosi said anyone who speculates about the plans of the first female House Speaker, now minority leader and 27-year representative of San Francisco is “on a fool’s errand,” given the opacity surrounding her innermost thoughts to anyone outside her closest circle.
Here’s what Pelosi herself told us in an email: “I’m running. I’ve already started the paperwork process. My work is not finished.”
Democratic aides close to both Miller and Waxman say the retirements are part of a generational shift in Congress. Both have both served four decades. “How many years do you need to put in before it’s OK to retire?” one aide asked.
Pelosi needs eyes, ears and enforcers in the caucus, a role Miller filled, one aide said. California Democrats close to Pelosi who can do that job include Reps. Anna Eshoo of Palo Alto, Barbara Lee of Oakland, Mike Thompson of St. Helena and Zoe Lofgren of San Jose, all building up serious time in the House themselves and showing no sign of leaving. Other top Pelosi colonels are Reps. Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, and Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut.
A source close to Pelosi said she “isn’t in Congress on a shift, but on a mission.” She is raising record amounts of money for Democrats — more than $35 million last year, compared with $27 million in 2011 and $18 million in 2009 and 2007.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the House Democratic fundraising arm, is out-raising each of its counterparts for Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats and House Republicans.
“We will have the resources to put the House in play,” the source said, even though returning Democrats to the majority is the longest of long shots this year.
Pelosi will be on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” Thursday night and is “hitting the campaign trail hard,” the source said.
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