Updated 5:00 p.m. | Think the spate of retirement announcements from senior House Democrats is going to drive Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi out of office?
“I’m running,” the California Democrat said in a statement forwarded to reporters by her office on Wednesday afternoon. “I’ve already started the paperwork process. My work is not finished.”
The statement appears to be an effort to tamp down efforts to read too deeply into decisions by two of Pelosi’s closest allies and fellow Californians — first George Miller and now Henry A. Waxman — to leave at the end of this year. But the “When will Nancy Pelosi retire?” parlor game has been going on for years.
Political operatives and observers quietly, and not so quietly, speculate that the 13-term California Democrat, at 73 years old, might step down at the end of this year in the event her party does not reclaim control of the House.
The first woman to serve as speaker, Pelosi has left many to wonder whether she might decide it isn’t worth serving another two years fighting against a Republican legislative agenda intent on thwarting her progressive priorities at every turn.
Her critics have accused her of standing in the way of a younger generation of lawmakers who would like to climb higher up the leadership ladder.
Even before Pelosi spelled out her intentions on Thursday, however, she wasn’t showing signs that she was slowing down.
“Since entering the Democratic leadership in 2002, Leader Pelosi has raised more than $363 million for Democrats,” said a Pelosi spokeswoman on Thursday afternoon in an email to CQ Roll Call. “This cycle the Leader has raised $35.5 million (as of January 1, 2014), and she traveled to 50 cities in 2013. Pelosi has raised $26.7 directly for the DCCC, already fulfilling her cycle goal of $25 million and has paid her $800,000 dues in full in November.”