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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2019. (Photo: Gage Skidmore.)

Sherrill is lone N.J. Democrat not to vote for Pelosi for Speaker

By David Wildstein, January 03 2021 4:50 pm

Nancy Pelosi was re-elected Speaker of the House today, with support from all but one Democrat in the New Jersey congressional delegation.

Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) voted present in the race for speaker, one of five Democrats not to back Pelosi.

When she took office for her first term two years ago, Sherrill was one of 15 House Democrats who didn’t vote for Pelosi.  She cast her vote for Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Illinois) instead.

The other nine New Jersey Democrats cast their ballots for Pelosi.  The two Republicans, Reps. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) and Jefferson Van Drew (R-Dennis), voted for the House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy.

Pelosi led a roll call vote, 216-209, with three Democrats voting present and two casting symbolic votes for other Democrats.

When Van Drew entered the House two years ago today, he was a Democrat and completely fumbled his first vote.

Asked to declare his choice for Speaker, Van Drew rose for the first time on the House floor and voted “No” in a simple process that required him to either say the name of who he supported, or just vote present.

That caused some noticeable laughter in the House chamber and immediately enhanced Van Drew’s name ID among his colleagues.  He became a national figure after he switched parties in December 2019 after refusing to support the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Van Drew won re-election as Republican.

As a candidate for re-election last year, Sherrill was attacked by her Republican opponent for voting with Pelosi 99% of the time.

Today, Republicans slammed her for voting present.

“Mikie Sherrill is a coward who will continue to vote in lockstep with Nancy Pelosi’s socialist agenda,” said Michael McAdams, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Sherrill, who has won twice in a Republican-leaning district, was not punished for her refusal to back Pelosi.

The former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot and federal prosecutor received her choice committee assignments — Armed Services and Science and Technology – and became chair of the Science subcommittee in her first term.

Reps. Elissa Slotkin (D-Michigan) and Abigail Spanberger (D-Virginia) were the other two who voted present.  Slotkin voted for Biden in 2019 and Spanberger joined Sherrill in voting for Bustos. Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) cast his vote for U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois), while Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pennsylvania) voted for Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York).

Other Democrats who declined to back Pelosi two years ago backed her this time.

Three other New Jersey Democrats — Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) and Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) — voted for Pelosi again.  Each faced criticism in their recent re-election campaigns for voting with Pelosi in what became a national GOP message.

The House has a 222-211 Democratic majority, with two vacancies.

Rep.-elect Luke Letlow, a 41-year-old Louisiana Republican, died of COVID-19  five days ago.

A race in New York’s 22nd district, where Rep. Anthony Brindisi trail Republican Claudia Tenney by 29 votes, has not been certified.   This is a rematch of the 2018 race that saw Brindisi unseat Tenney.

The House swore in Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) today.  She was certified as the winner of an open Democratic House seat by six votes in a race that still faces a legal challenge.

Pelosi becomes the third Speaker to win with less than 218 votes, following Newt Gingrich in 1997 and John Boehner in 2015.

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