Seth Moulton tried to oust Nancy Pelosi as House speaker. This time, he’s backing her.

“Holding the caucus together is one of the most important — and as the caucus call yesterday demonstrated, hardest — things we have to do right now."

Bedford, MA - 9/10/20 -  Congressman Seth Moulton joined the Gold Star families of two veterans from Bedford killed in action in 2003 and 2004 as he offered his reaction to President Trump's comments on the military, as reported by The Atlantic. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Rep. Seth Moulton at a press conference in September. –Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe

Following each of the past two national elections, Rep. Seth Moulton has been at the forefront of efforts to replace Rep. Nancy Pelosi as House Democrats’ leader.

However, the Massachusetts congressman says this time is “a very different moment.”

In an interview Friday with GBH News, the Salem Democrat said he will vote for Pelosi to be House speaker of the upcoming 117th Congress. According to Moulton, the 80-year-old California congresswoman is the “is the best person to hold the caucus together” to accomplish President-elect Joe Biden’s agenda.

“Holding the caucus together is one of the most important — and as the caucus call yesterday demonstrated, hardest — things we have to do right now,” Moulton told GBH, referring to a conference call Thursday among House Democrats during which several more moderate members of the party clashed with its more outspoken progressives.

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Democrats will have a majority in the House in 2021, albeit by a narrower margin. Unlike the “blue wave” in the 2018 midterm elections, the party is on track to lose about a dozen seats to Republicans, despite Biden’s win in the presidential race (the GOP will also retain a majority in the Senate unless Democrats pull off upsets in two Georgia runoff races).

“Party unity is going to be even more important now than it was last year,” Moulton told MSNBC in an interview Sunday, calling the House losses were an “uncomfortable reality.”

That reality spells a challenging path for the Biden administration’s hopes of passing major legislative reforms. According to the Washington Post, the Delaware Democrat plans to begin his tenure in office with a number of executive actions to undo policies by President Donald Trump, who has not conceded the race.

In 2016 and 2018, Moulton had argued that Pelosi should step aside and allow a younger generation of Democratic leaders to take the reins of the party. However, he ultimately dropped that opposition after Pelosi agreed to a deal to impose term limits on herself and several other senior Democratic leaders (though it appears the deal was never officially adopted).

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Despite his own past ambitions for higher office, Moulton also told GBH that he would not be joining the ranks of Massachusetts politicians that some speculate could join a Biden administration.

“I’m very happy in Salem, and I love this job; I am absolutely not going to join the Biden administration,” Moulton said.

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