Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is not welcome in Trump country, which was probably one reason another top Democrat — her long-term rival Steny Hoyer — was zipping through Republican-friendly corners of western Wisconsin this past week.
Hoyer, the Maryland centrist and perpetual leader-in-waiting in the House of Representatives, was on a mission to woo blue-collar voters and help his party win back control of the House.
He was also looking for what could be his last shot.
“Would I like to be speaker? Of course. Would I be disappointed if it doesn’t happen? No,” the No. 2 House Democrat said by phone, reflecting on his long career as he cut through snow-covered rolling hills, a world away from his Chesapeake Bay home turf.
Hoyer has been eying the top spot for more than a decade, living in the shadow of a San Francisco Democrat who has a white-knuckle grip on power. Now, as the party wrestles with its ideological impulses and younger lawmakers push for a generational shift — both he and Pelosi are 78 years old — Hoyer may be looking for one more play.
Replacing one longtime leader with another is not what many Democratshave in mind. Still, Hoyer is actively, if quietly, seeking lawmakers’ support. His allies put him forward as a possible “bridge” leader, who might ease a transition to a next generation — if Pelosi ever steps aside. Others find far-fetched the notion that a white, male centrist from blue Maryland would be the new face of the Democratic Party…..