Shuler loses Minority Leader bid against Pelosi

In an outcome that he predicted himself, Western North Carolina Congressman Heath Shuler lost his Nov. 17 bid against Nancy Pelosi to lead House Democrats. The incumbent representative who recently won his third term said that he took heart in garnering 43 votes compared to the 150 votes for Pelosi.

“To be able to get that many votes, I mean that’s a lot better than we expected,” he said in a brief news conference outside the capital. “We only have 20 something Blue Dogs; to exceed that with 43, that’s pretty good.”

In a separate statement, Shuler explained that he saw his attempt to unseat Pelosi as a symbolic effort to represent the interests of moderates throughout the country.

“It was never about winning; it was about giving the moderates a voice in this caucus. We are strong because we are a big-tent party, not in spite of it,” he said. “Today we proved that we will continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the next Congress, and I am proud to be a leader in that effort.”

Republican leaders saw the effort differently, however, with the North Carolina GOP releasing a statement that asserted that Shuler’s run was “a sad sideshow with WNC as the punchline.”

The congressman first publicly brought up the idea of challenging Pelosi during an Aug. 26 luncheon sponsored by the Council of Independent Business Owners. He mentioned his interest in the position several times throughout the campaign, and set off a national media frenzy in the days leading up to yesterday’s vote. Shuler was the only Democrat to take on Pelosi, a powerful leader who was demoted from Speaker of the House after Republicans won enough seats to take over the Congress.

It’s unclear how Shuler’s public challenge of his own party’s leadership will effect his position within the caucus. He was recently promoted to lead the Blue Dog coalition of moderate Democrats after it was devastated on Nov. 2, dropping from 54 to 26 members.

Here’s a video of Shuler’s remarks after the Minority Leader vote (via Politico):


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21 thoughts on “Shuler loses Minority Leader bid against Pelosi

  1. Johnny

    “…about giving moderates a voice”. Uh-huh.

    Voice, shmoice.

    What’s needed is to have ANY of them stand up and call bullshit on the Republican lies, attacks and misinformation.

    Show some backbone for chrissakes and go after those jokers. Strength of position on not extending the Bush tax cuts to the top 2% would be a good start. Force a vote.

    Same on DADT. Force a vote.


  2. R.Bernier

    What will 880am,Bothwell,Smith & local progressives do with their Congressman now?

    It appears that Shuler will turn his head at the Asheville Progressives now – what will they do now?

    Its ok, they have the City of Asheville.


  3. it’s interesting that the dems are continuing down that road with nancy. she really didn’t help before, what do they think is going to happen now?

  4. Barry Summers

    Shuler is dumber than a bag of hammers. I watched him on CNN admitting that he didn’t have the votes to unseat Pelosi. Duh. And he couldn’t really articulate any reason why he was running for the leadership, other than it got him some facetime on the networks.

    And then just today, he joined the Republicans in cutting off unemployment checks to 4 million American families, right before the holidays. Even most of the “Blue Dogs” didn’t join him to stoop that low.

    I’m no great fan of Nancy Pelosi, but gosh, I’m so surprised the Democrats didn’t elect Shuler to be their ‘leader’…

  5. Shuler is not so dumb, Barry. He (and/or his political strategist) has played the media like a finely tuned instrument and has had them hanging on his every word.

    This is a win for Shuler because he gets to inoculate himself against the “you voted for Pelosi” charge he will inevitably get in 2012 from his next hapless Republican challenger. He can afford to swing right because he will face no serious challenger with real backing or a ground game in the next primary.

  6. kanda

    Shuler is obviously positioning himself as the voice of reason within the house democrats. By going against Pelosi now he sets himself as the potential democrat “go to person” in 2012 should Pelosi faulter and the democrats continue to disregard the will of the majority of the american people. Shuler’s strategy is brilliant.

  7. Barry Summers

    No no, I get it. He’s very popular with the Right Wing of The Party. He holds a seat in the Left Wing, and serves to keep the back-benchers from thinking they actually can chart a course away from the one chosen by the Central Committee. He can be counted on to give cover to those who want to rip away the last of the safety net, like he did yesterday. 4 million families will get their unemployment checks cut off at the start of winter, but hey – Heath’s in line for Kommissar, or dare he dream it, a seat on the Committee itself…

    You’re right, maybe he is pretty smart.

  8. dpewen

    If Schuler is considered brilliant than we are all in trouble! He his the leader of the dumbing down movement … oh and Heath, keep religion out of politics.

  9. It’s Shuler, not Schuler.

    He’s been our Congressman for four years, learn how to at least spell his name correctly if you’re gonna call him dumb.


  10. Barry Summers

    dpewen – See what happens when you insult the Right Wing’s Golden Boy?

    Pig – I’m the one who called Schulerman dumb. dpewen made an important reference: “dumbing down”, which is different from “being dumb”. I don’t really think Schulerman is dumb – I think he’s clever and opportunistic, which is sad when that’s the best you can say about a Congressman.

  11. @Barry:

    If the following quote from @dpewen

    If Schuler is considered brilliant than we are all in trouble! He his the leader of the dumbing down movement

    isn’t calling Shuler dumb, I don’t know what is!

    I was also laughing at @dpewen for not being able to spell Shuler’s name despite it being in the article (even in the title of this piece) more than once. Here is a visual aid to that effect

    Odds are, we won’t have to worry much about Shuler in 2012 due to re-districting, especially if we get a 14th district in North Carolina.

  12. Barry Summers

    Wow, Pig. A simple misspelling sets you off into peals of laughter? Like you’ve never misspelled someone’s name before? I know I have – sometimes when referring to you, I have spelled it:


  13. dpewen

    Anyone who uses a name like thunder pig cannot be taken seriously … the poor boy needs a life. He sures likes to spin things also .. poor thing

  14. UnaffiliatedVoter

    HeShu performed some kubuki theatre for you and you were entertained. Actually, he had to make good on a unintended radio blurt when ‘debating’ Jeff Miller. I think he took a BIG GULP moments later.

  15. @Barry, it does when the person won’t even acknowledge the error and move on, that’s what I do when someone points out spelling errors. If the error is really egregious, then some self-deprecating humor is called for before I move on.

    I guess we’ve arrived at the point where the thread is no longer about Shuler…thank you both for making this thread about me. (with apologies to Tim Peck for stealing his line. (???)

    @dpewen, for someone who could care less what I say, you seem to have cared enough to try to even the score (that’s assuming I have ‘scored points’ for pointing out a spelling error) to make fun of my screen name. I’m sure you can do better than that, I’m a big boy, I can take it.

    Odds are, we won’t have to worry much about Shuler in 2012 due to re-districting, especially if we get a 14th district in North Carolina.

  16. Ken Hanke

    The promotion of community dialogue chugs right (and I do mean right) along.

  17. Barry Summers

    Actually, he had to make good on a unintended radio blurt when ‘debating’ Jeff Miller. I think he took a BIG GULP moments later.

    It wasn’t an unintended blurt. I know Matt would love to take credit for breaking this, but sadly, here’s the video evidence of Shuler talking about running for Speaker, a full two months before the debate on WWNC:

  18. Wolfbane

    Congressman Shuler is telling us he’s the middle-of-the-road-guy. So let’s make sure he stays there and does what he promised. I’d rather he hadn’t cut off peoples’unemployment checks but if that means he really will slash all kinds of spending, then let’s watch him, maybe cheer.

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