House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Word that House Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi wants to move the date of the party’s leadership elections — which are usually held the week after the general election — to Dec. 5 has sparked intense speculation on the Hill.

The thinking is that, if she decided not to run for leader, the delay would give successors a chance time to organize a campaign against House Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). Their relationship has never been, let’s say, particularly chummy. (Though things are said to be okay between them of late.)

“That’s ridiculous,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said of the speculators’ reasoning. “Leader Pelosi is singularly focused on winning the election.” (Meaning the one Nov. 6.) And apparently the leadership vote may still be held the week after the election or right after Thanksgiving..

The official explanation for the date change option, which was worked up week before last, according to an account Friday in Politico, was that House Democrats were complaining about being pestered and distracted — by calls from candidates running for the only leadership spot now vacant, the lowly position of vice chair of the Democratic caucus.

That’s prompting a chorus of guffaws — though we were told the candidates were indeed making calls to lock in support.


By way of background, these leadership elections are timed to new members’ arrival in town for orientation sessions. (The change would mean the newbies would have to come back after Thanksgiving.)

Loop Fans may recall that, two years ago, after the Great Thumping that relegated the Ds to the minority, Pelosi quashed an effort to hold the leadership elections in December. Angry rank and filers, led by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) wanted more time to consider whether they wanted someone else to lead them

So the leadership votes were held the week after the election, leaving no time for a real challenge to coalesce and Pelosi crushed now-retiring Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.).

So if Pelosi really wanted to run again, you’d think she would want that same very short campaign time.