It poses a threat to Nancy Pelosi's effort to become speaker.
Whip operation aside however, there's another glaring challenge for Pelosi's detractors: she doesn't yet face a definitive challenger. Last week Pelosi opponents claimed to be at least 20-30 strong, which means the insurgency against her is at best losing steam. "She is a historic figure whose leadership has been instrumental to some of our party's most important legislative achievements", the letter said.
To replace retiring Republican Paul Ryan as speaker, Pelosi will need 218 votes for a majority - providing all members show up and vote for a named person, and assuming no Republicans vote for her.
If these members - which include only two women - stick to their promise, Pelosi's road to regain the speaker's gavel would be hard, and even more so if they are joined by others. I think she deserves it. However, she believes "it's time for a new one". Two of them, Anthony Brindisi in NY and Ben McAdams in Utah, are in races that have not yet been called by The Associated Press. On Monday, 16 Democrats signed a letter indicating they will not be voting for her.
"He will not support her for speaker", Reynolds said. Either an "aye" vote for Pelosi or an abstention is an effective endorsement of her candidacy for the speaker's office. She has enlisted powerful allies to weigh in on her behalf and worked to build an air of inevitability around her bid, including through a letter of support circulated by a veteran lawmaker, Representative Nita M. Lowey of NY, and signed by 61 Democratic women as of Friday afternoon.
"We promised to change the status quo, and we intend to deliver on that promise", they wrote.
They are heading toward an internal caucus vote when lawmakers return from the Thanksgiving recess that will test Pelosi's support.
Pelosi picked up backing from Congressman John Lewis, the civil rights leader, while a who's-who of Democrats - including former Vice-President Al Gore and former Secretary of State John Kerry - advocated on her behalf. She's likely to overcome such a threshold, depending on how large the Democratic majority shakes out to be.
The letter goes on to say that the outcome of the recent mid-term proves that Americans want "real change". If that bid is successful, it could kick off a wholesale scramble that could also threaten Clyburn, the current assistant Democratic leader, and Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who is seeking to move from whip to majority leader when Democrats take control in January.
Fudge told reporters last week that she had not yet made a decision on whether to be a candidate for speaker, but has said she is weighing a run. "Ninety-four percent of the caucus didn't sign this letter".
"If we are going to turn a page and bring civility back to the political discussions, we need to change the people who are directing that conversation", she said.