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Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's prospects for becoming the nation's first female House speaker depend not only on a Democratic victory in November but also on her ability to prevent any Democrats from voting against her -- primarily centrists opposed to her liberal stances.
At least one Democratic House candidate has pledged not to support Mrs. Pelosi, and others in conservative districts have refused to commit their support -- potentially leaving Mrs. Pelosi shy of the 218 votes required for the chamber's top post.