DNC Chairman Tom Perez Dodges Question About Endorsing Nancy Pelosi For Speaker

Henry Rodgers | Capitol Hill Reporter

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez dodged questions Friday about endorsing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House if Democrats are successful in the November midterm elections.

“It will be up to the new House majority,” Perez said in a Friday interview at the Texas Tribune Festival with The Wall Street Journal’s Reid Epstein. Perez was asked if he plans to endorse Pelosi if Democrats win a majority of the House.

“But you’ve made endorsements in races before,” Epstein said. “You endorsed in the New York governor’s race. You’re not prepared to endorse Nancy Pelosi as speaker?”

Perez responded and said, “I am so appreciative of Nancy Pelosi and what she has done for the Democratic Party. Her effectiveness as a leader is why we have so many elements of our social compact. So I don’t have a vote in that race, Reid.”

Epstein pushed back. “But you didn’t have a vote in New York and you endorsed in that race?” he said.

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“Well, and I haven’t endorsed in any other race, OK? And I have a longtime friendship with [New York Democratic Lieutenant Gov.] Kathy Hochul and others in New York. And so this a race that is going to be up to the House Democrats in the aftermath. And I hope it will be the House majority Democrats,” Perez said, continuing to dodge questions about endorsing Pelosi.

Pelosi has previously said she thinks she’ll be the next speaker of the House, despite Democratic Reps. Kathleen Rice of New York, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Filemon Vela of Texas and Tim Ryan of Ohio, who have all called for Pelosi to relinquish her leadership role. (RELATED: McCarthy Sends Out Warning Message On Pelosi Becoming Speaker: ‘Should Scare All Americans’)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy hopes to become the next speaker of the House if Republicans can maintain the majority after the midterm elections, but some Republicans have said they would like to see Majority Whip Steve Scalise or GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio in the position.

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