Tom Malinowski playfully ducked a question about who he wants as the next Speaker of the House this week at a crowded NJ Forward victory party. And the room – after all, a friendly crowd not interested in tripping him up – let him laugh off the question shouted from the audience (not by me). Of New Jersey’s bumper crop of Democratic district flippers – Mikie Sherrill, Andy Kim, Jeff Van Drew and Tom – Malinowski is the only one who is on record even hinting he would consider voting for Pelosi as Speaker. Sherrill, Kim, and Van Drew all made the need to replace her part of their campaigns. As opposition to her grew, Malinowski retreated into what Washington Post called the Dodged the Question camp. Mikie Sherrill and Jeff Van Drew have made pretty solid statements against Pelosi, with Van Drew a signer of the #NeverNancy open letter, which is primarily signed by centrist male members.
Now Malinowski has picked a side, further evidence that the ferocious deal-making that’s been going on all week by Pelosi and her captains, is working, solidifying her position. The Democratic caucus votes for a nominee Nov. 28, the full House in January. Below, Malinowski’s statement:
Malinowski Statement on Support for Congresswoman Pelosi as Speaker of the House
I have decided to support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House.
During the campaign, I said I would make this decision only after the election and after consulting with my constituents, and that I would only support a speaker who would help me deliver for New Jersey.
In recent days, I have spoken with Congresswoman Pelosi about the needs of our state, and I believe that she shares our fundamental concerns. For example, she has told me that she will support taking action next year to address the SALT deduction issue, and to ensure that the federal government keeps its promise to help fund the Gateway Tunnel project.
I have also heard from many voters in the district, including at a public meeting Wednesday night, who have urged me to support Congresswoman Pelosi, and from others across the state, including over 120 New Jersey women leaders who have endorsed her candidacy.
My decision is influenced by larger concerns that inspired me to run for Congress. This is pivotal moment in our history. Americans are dangerously divided. We have a president who disdains and seeks to undermine the most sacred norms of our democracy. Democrats have won nothing more than a fragile foothold in one House of Congress, from which we must try to apply checks and balances, and to deliver for voters who are losing hope that Congress can deliver anything.
We must get to work from day one to pass bills that can unite sensible, patriotic Americans of both parties, on issues like health care costs, infrastructure, fighting corruption, and gun safety — while exercising oversight in a disciplined way where the rule of law and our country’s ideals demand it. A long, bitter and divisive leadership fight is the last thing we need at this moment of national crisis. We must show results as quickly as possible, with unity and shared purpose. Nancy Pelosi has demonstrated time and again that she can unify our diverse Democratic caucus and negotiate with the other side to get results. That is what we need right now.
At the same time, those who argue that our party should start a transition to new leadership deserve our attention and respect. Over the next two years, we should empower younger members to speak for us, and begin an open process to identify the next generation of House leaders. But first, let’s focus on the job we were elected to do, with a leader who has proven that she knows how to do it.