Pelosi Bares The Brunt Of Dems' Georgia Loss

Frederick Owens
June 24, 2017

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., confronted her critics - both Republicans and Democrats - on Thursday after Democratic losses in Tuesday's House special elections brought new scrutiny to her leadership and fresh calls for her to step aside lest she drag down her party's candidates in the 2018 midterms.

Now, she is receiving criticism from within her own party over Democrat Jon Ossoff's loss in the Georgia special congressional election.

Pelosi isn't in danger of losing the leadership perch she's long held, though she did fend off her toughest challenge ever last fall from Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who argued the party needed someone who better understood the rural, working-class voters that were critical to President Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton a year ago. "It's time for Nancy Pelosi to go, and the entire leadership team".

The focus on Pelosi comes in part because she's the only figure in Democratic politics who is universally known and detested on the right. The daughter and sister of former Baltimore mayors, she rose quickly through Democratic ranks in the 1980s as California party chairman, then finance chair for the party's Senate campaign committee.

"I think there was consensus within the room that there are other members within the caucus who feel just like we do", Texas Rep. Filemon Vela told CNN. I have enormous respect for Nancy Pelosi, enormous respect, but I want to win.

"This is certainly something that we have to discuss because it's clear that, I think, across the board in the Democratic Party, we need new leadership", the MA lawmaker said.

"There are many more people today, even from November, who are much more vocal, who have approached us and said, 'I'm done".

She added: "Every action has a reaction, I try to say that to them".

"You know you can sit here and we'll talk about Russian Federation all day long today on Capitol Hill and in Washington".

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As Moulton raised questions in his Wednesday interview about relitigating that leadership fight, he referred to the need for a "new generation" of leaders in the party. "I think our leadership owes us an explanation for what's gone on in these four elections, but also a plan for moving forward".

A reporter asked how the minority leader would respond to President Trump's latest tweet attacking her, as well as "Republicans who believe that you are actually helpful to them in some of these races".

Ryan talked about how "toxic" the Democrats' brand is--even worse than the President's in many places.

Moulton acknowledged there was no candidate at the moment challenging the party leadership.

Pelosi, 77, has led the House Democratic caucus for almost 15 years, from the minority into the majority and back again.

Pelosi "consistently polls very unfavorably", said John Rogers, the executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee - the House GOP's campaign arm.

"We don't agonize, we organize", she concluded.

The renegade Democrats resurfaced again this week, after Tuesday's loss by Ossoff in a Georgia special election that received intense national coverage. His 2015-16 giving was well behind Pelosi previous year, at $592,500.

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