Skip to Content
http://www.wgbh.org/authenticate/login
wgbh News

Stymied In His Anti-Pelosi Quest, Seth Moulton Declares Victory Nonetheless

Seth Moulton, Kathleen Rice
Rep. Seth Moulton D-Mass., and Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., who led the opposition against House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California for House speaker, arrive for the Democratic Caucus leadership elections at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

His push to keep California Rep. Nancy Pelosi from serving another term as House Speaker seems to have failed, but Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton is claiming victory nonetheless.

In a deal announced Wednesday, Pelosi said she’ll serve no more than four more years as speaker, and several Democrats who had opposed her return to the speakership said they would support her bid when the House picks its next leader on Jan. 3.

That includes Moulton, who had become perhaps the most prominent face of the anti-Pelosi movement. He said in a conference call with constituents Wednesday night that Pelosi’s agreement to term limits for herself and other Democratic congressional leaders will make the party stronger.

"The leaders of our caucus will no longer be determined by tenure and loyalty, but by frequent and open elections, giving us a better chance to change, and to evolve as the country does," Moulton said.

"They’ll also incentivize these leaders to build our bench, something the party has struggled with over the past few years," Moulton said. "Nancy Pelosi showed real leadership by agreeing to these reforms."

Moulton's opposition to another speakership for Pelosi has sparked a backlash in Massachusetts. At a Nov. 19 town hall meeting in Amesbury, Moulton was sharply criticized by Democratic activists who accused him of sexism and ageism, and vowed to work against his re-election if he continued to work against Pelosi becoming speaker again in 2019.

State Sen. Barbara L'Italien, who recently made an unsuccessful bid for the open seat in Massachusetts' Third Congressional District, has indicated she may be interested in mounting a primary challenge to Moulton.

Moulton was also called out on social media recently after President Donald Trump alluded to Pelosi's uncertain prospects during a remarkably contentious meeting with Pelosi and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader.

For his part, Moulton has argued that voters sent a mandate for change in the 2018 elections, and that maintaining the Democratic leadership status quo would be an affront to that impulse.

If he has any regrets about his anti-Pelosi campaign, he didn't acknowledge them Wednesday night.

"I think it's a great result on all sides," he said.

The reforms Moulton touted — which would limit tenure in the top three Democratic leadership posts to, at most, four two-year terms — have yet to be approved by House Democrats. However, Pelosi has said she's committed to abiding by the terms of the deal she and her critics have reached.

WGBH News coverage is a resource provided by member-supported public radio. We can’t do it without you.
Expand