This is a problem for Pelosi if the House Democratic Caucus is whittled down to a figure in the low 220s. Say, 223 or 222 Democrats, after all the races are called. Pelosi, or any successful candidate for Speaker, can’t dip below 218.
Some Democrats could oppose Pelosi because of Democrats failing to add seats in this election. Others could vote nay simply because they want a change at the top. Pelosi has been the Democratic Leader or Speaker since 2003. She became Democratic Whip in 2001. Such longevity in leadership is almost unheard of.
The late House Speaker Sam Rayburn, D-Texas, was either Speaker, Majority Leader or Minority Leader in every Congress between 1937 and 1961.
Pelosi secured 220 votes for Speaker at the start of the current Congress out of 430 total votes cast.