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Altmire Hopes Pelosi Steps Aside as Speaker if Democrats Hold Majority

In the latest sign that some moderate Democratic incumbents want Nancy Pelosi’s speakership to come to an end, Pennsylvania Rep. Jason Altmire said the dynamics of the next Congress would “certainly necessitate new leadership in the Speaker’s position.”

The sophomore Democratic lawmaker, who was part of the 40-plus class of “Majority Makers” that helped Democrats rise to power in 2006, stopped short of ruling out a vote for Pelosi for Speaker, but he said he would prefer that she step aside from the outset.

“I hope that she is not a candidate for Speaker,” he said. “I don’t think the issues that she’s pursued are good for the district I represent.”

Altmire, who is facing a GOP challenge from Pittsburgh lawyer Keith Rothfus in the competitive 4th district, said Pelosi is too partisan to be an effective Speaker if Democrats have a slimmer majority.

Altmire’s comments came on the heels of statements from a trio of endangered moderate Democrats — Alabama’s Bobby Bright, Georgia’s Jim Marshall, and North Carolina’s Mike McIntyre — who have said publicly in recent days that they would not vote again for Pelosi for Speaker. More than a dozen other incumbent Democrats have refused to commit to voting for her or have declined to discuss the matter.

In response to McIntyre’s statement last week that he would not support Pelosi, the Speaker’s spokesman, Nadeam Elshami, said Tuesday, “The Speaker’s focus is on Democrats winning the election and retaining the majority, which we will.”

Like a lot of other Democrats, Altmire has been keeping his distance from Pelosi on the campaign trail. His first campaign ad this cycle quoted district residents saying they liked that he was “not afraid to stand up” to Pelosi and President Barack Obama.

And when Pelosi was in Pittsburgh on Monday for a high-profile speech at the United Steelworkers’ “Women of Steel” conference, Altmire was campaigning in a faraway part of his district. Rothfus, meanwhile, joined roughly 40 protesters at the state Republican Party’s “Fire Pelosi” protest, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.