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The Pelosi Succession Wild Card & More Suns Drama

Eleni Kounalakis
Eleni Kounalakis, California's Lieutenant Governor. Photo: Panayiotis Tzamaros/Getty Images
Theodore Schleifer
October 11, 2022

On Friday morning, I stopped by the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, where Nancy Pelosi had been hosting the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s annual Ultimate Women’s Power Luncheon and Issues Conference. Hundreds of mostly female donors, fundraisers, and operatives were hanging around the hotel, two blocks from my apartment, so it was a good place to people-watch and catch up with sources who were milling about. Behind closed doors, D.C.C.C. chair Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and House Majority PAC chief Abby Curran Horrell gave donors an update on the House map; Reps. Barbara Lee and Judy Chu did a panel on abortion; and Reps. Jared Huffman and Mary Peltola did one on climate. Then everyone flooded downstairs for a luncheon with Pelosi, who gifted her guests with a “DOWN WITH NDP” tote, featuring Pelosi’s likeness in a trademark look with shades and a red overcoat. She was mobbed for photos.

Yes, the cult of Pelosi persists, but times are a-changin’ in House leadership, as my Puck partner Tara Palmeri has previously noted. If Democrats lose the House—which, to be sure, is no longer quite the foregone conclusion it was a few months ago—Pelosi is widely expected to resign her seat early next year, triggering the spectacle of a special election in San Francisco, to say nothing of the leadership race in Washington. It’s a great unspoken plot twist looming over the midterms.