DENVER – Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., on Thursday made good on his promise not to vote for Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for House Speaker, though she was elected to the top spot in the U.S. House of Representatives despite Crow's a few other Democratic objections.
Crow was the only member of Congress from Colorado to vote for someone aside from the two popular candidates: Pelosi among Democrats and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., among Republicans.
Crow cast his vote for Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and was one of two freshman Democrats to do so. There is no requirement that the House Speaker be a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
He had said throughout last year’s campaign that he would support someone aside from Pelosi for Speaker, saying he wanted a “new generation of leadership in D.C.” Duckworth, like Crow, is a U.S. military combat veteran.
“I believe we need a new generation of leadership in our country. That is a belief that extends beyond party and even towards politicians and leaders whom I greatly admire, as is the case in today’s vote. But I stand by my pledge to the sixth district,” Crow said in a statement following the vote.
He said that Duckworth represented a “vision of what that new generation of leadership looks like.”
“As a veteran, mother of a young child, and woman of color, Senator Duckworth exemplifies exactly that. There is no shortage of brilliant, talented folks in our caucus and I hope we as a party can continue to lift them up as leaders,” Crow said.
But he said he looked forward to working with Pelosi and said she would unify Democrats for the next two years.
“Now is the time to refocus the fight on ending this absurd shutdown and re-opening our government for business,” Crow said.
His fellow Colorado Democrats – Reps. Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter and Joe Neguse – all voted for Pelosi. The three Republican members of Congress from Colorado – Reps. Scott Tipton, Doug Lamborn and Ken Buck – all voted for McCarthy.
Both Crow and Neguse were sworn in Thursday as part of the incoming class of freshman lawmakers.
Perlmutter had earlier last year said he wouldn’t support Pelosi for Speaker but reached an agreement with her in December that will implement term limits for senior leadership and a host of other measures.
At the time, he said he likewise wanted “generational change” among Democrats but said he had been convinced by Pelosi “that generational change has started and will continue to accelerate.”
After Thursday's vote, Perlmutter tweeted a new statement: "I am proud to support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker today. I worked with her to secure generational change in the Democratic Caucus and am confident she is the best person to lead a very diverse and ambitious caucus while contending with the difficult challenges facing the country."
Another one of the Democrats who initially led the anti-Pelosi charge last year, Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, also voted for Pelosi on Thursday.
This is Pelosi’s second term as House Speaker; she previously served in the position from 2007 to 2011 and was the first woman to do so. She has said that as Speaker, she will take on President Trump with her new Democratic majority in the House, though Republicans still control the Senate.
She and House Democrats are expected to first tackle the government shutdown, though there are still questions of whether Senate Republicans would pass a bill that did not contain the $5.6 billion in border wall money President Trump has demanded. The president has said he won’t sign a bill to reopen the government if it doesn’t include the money, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he won’t bring a House bill to the Senate floor that does not include the money.
"The American people spoke and demanded a new dawn," Pelosi said in comments that followed her taking the gavel.