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The big question for new House Dems: Will you back Pelosi?

The big question for new House Dems: Will you back Pelosi?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The big first question for the new Democrats in the House is whether they will vote for Nancy Pelosi as speaker.

The escalating power struggle over Pelosi's future intensified Monday as her critics unveiled a letter signed by 16 Democrats vowing to oppose her. If that holds, it could be enough to derail her bid. If not, she could reclaim the gavel she once held.

The vote on a new speaker will be among the first cast in the new Congress. For many of the Democratic freshmen, it's a moment of truth after campaign promises to demand new leadership.

For now, just five freshmen have signed onto the letter opposing Pelosi. Two of them are in races not yet called by The Associated Press.